Tag Archives: Rosie Motene

WILL YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT US IN MEMORIAM?

25 Mar

When SA lockdown was announced, our entertainment industry shut down and those that do not have political ties or commercial contracts, suffered the most as the gig economy came to a standstill.

For decades we have seen talented artisans dying poor and then given huge memorials and accolades at their burials. As much as this is necessary we need to adopt the culture of supporting and respecting creatives whilst they are still alive. The new age of social media and content creation has changed the game, which is great but it has opened up a platform for mediocrity and popularity to dominate the space. A few years back, I had an altercation with a producer over a casting. My agency was casting for a local drama and the producers gave me the contract to look for suitable and experienced talent. We conducted a huge casting session and when I brought back the audition materials, my suggestions, the producers then said that they had earmarked certain celebrities to play the specific roles. Not only was this unfair on the actors who took their time, money and effort to work hard and attend the auditions, but these so-called celebrities also did not audition, have never had any training and the decision was made on their social media following. I lost the battle with a few talents but fought hard on certain leads, demanding that everyone come in and audition. Once given the space and the opportunity to improvise and do character development, the producers and the channel realised that that social media following does not equate to talent. Certain individuals showed that their talent and range is limited, they could not break down a script, failed in breathing techniques and were very bland in delivery.
My heart still goes out to that talent who had used their finances to catch public transport, learn lines and attend the auditions with the hope of fulfilling their dreams. It is that group of creatives, who have suffered the most during the lockdown. Many applied for funding through various apartments, some of us received a once-off payment of a few thousand rands, which in my case, I was able to provide groceries and supplies for my mother. However, many have not been as successful and then some have been given millions of rands, as they have political affiliations and we know how patriarchy works.

This week, the musician, Chicco, wrote an open letter to the known abuser, Arthur Mafokate, please see below.

A few days later, The Daily Sun printed an article that another singer, Chomee received R2 million rand from NAC.
https://www.dailysun.co.za/Celebs/shock-over-chomees-millions-20210324

At the beginning of March, the opera singer Sibongile Mngoma staged a sit-in at The National Arts Council requesting answers about the presidential employment stimulus programme (Pesp). This was set at R300 Million.
The NAC council have suspended the CEO Rosemary Mangope and CFO Clifton Changfoot pending an investigation about the management of the R300m Pesp.
Julie Diphofa has been appointed as the acting CEO, who has been a senior official at the NAC for over 20 years and Reshma Bhoola as the acting CFO.

As activists, we have made contact with Sis Sibongile and tried to provide support where we can but in reality, we know that the guilty parties will not be held accountable.

This week was such a sombre moment for me, as I attended the memorial service of the late Noxolo ‘Noxee’ Maqashalala. This phenomenal artist and creative passed away a few weeks back. The beautiful ceremony was held in the downstairs theatre at the Market Theatre. Due to time constraints, I could only attend a few hours of the memorial, which had been planned for the full day.

I had the opportunity of meeting Noxee, whilst working in the film Hotel Rwanda in 2004. On one of the shoot days, we shared a dressing room. Although our interaction was brief, I loved her warm nature and honesty on many topics around women in our industry and following our dreams. I followed her career for many years and as it was stated at the memorial service, her work was so underrated and she deserved so many more accolades as an actor and producer, but unfortunately, this did not happen whilst she was alive.
Rolie, Nikiwe, one of South Africa’s prolific filmmakers and writers, gave a beautiful send-off, reiterating my sentiments. He also pointed out that mental health in the industry is real and now with Covid-19, we need to look out for search other.
The minister fo arts and culture was due to speak later on in the day but I had to leave. On walking to the parking, I was able to join a few warriors who were protesting outside the NAC, regarding the mismanagement of the PESP funds.

The irony of two of the placards read- RIP. WILL YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT US IN MEMORIAM?
and another… NATHI MUST FALL.

This chilling experience came minutes after it was spoken about at a memorial of an artist, who did not receive the right recognition when she was alive.

So what is the next step? Denying starving artists access to funding is another form of financial abuse. Awarding wealthy and connected artists, with millions of rands, whilst others suffer and die in silence is violence in itself.

If the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture must fall, do we have a suitable candidate, who understands our industry and will have our best interests at heart? We know he has a lack of knowlegde regrading GBV but are there other people who will really help. What can we do to save the indutry?

Practising self love, together.

30 Jan

This festive season, my partner and I opted to spend Christmas with our respective families and then a quiet night in for New Year’s eve. As much as we thought we had a break as we went into January, the covid fatigue had a permanent space in our lives.

Two weeks into January, I received a text message from my partner asking if I was up for a cosy weekend, of course, I said yes, then I was asked to pack our bags for a weekend getaway. Feeling absolute ecstatic, I packed our bags, and we set off on our surprise location. Approximately 45 minutes later, we arrived at Thabo Eco Hotel, situated in the Klipriviersberg nature reserve.

On arrival, the security guard did the necessary security and covid checks, and we drove up to the parking area. At the reception, we were met by a peaceful, tranquil space with friendly and accommodating staff. Check-in was quick, and the friendly staff explained in detail, what was on offer and the new regulations as per covid government regulations. Our stay was when South Africa was under the new curfew, so the restaurant would serve dinner early as closing time had changed. We arrived late afternoon, and we had not eaten lunch, so the arrangement suited us fine as we were planning on having an early dinner.

Our room:
The decor is magnificent, spacious and set amid the bush. We had a small balcony, that was large enough for a patio table and two chairs, with a lovely view of the property and surrounding landscape. The king-size bed faced another open window which to had a great glimpse of the surrounding landscape.
We were delightfully surprised to find that the drinks (non-alcoholic) and snacks, plus the coffees and teas, were all complimentary and were stocked daily.

Our bathroom equipped with a large shower, bath and twin basins, towelling gowns and the necessary toiletries. The toilet is separate.

Our daily adventures:
After a good nights sleep, we woke up early and went on a great hike. The hiking trail started on the top end of the property, with rocky mountain terrain and vegetation. We were lucky to capture some wildlife as well as pass several cyclists. The trails are accessible from outside the reserve, so day trips are available.
We explored the spa that at the top of the farm, next to the hiking trail. ‘Sinzinani Spa’ has a breathtaking view and has a menu of various beauty and relaxing treatments.

Next to the rooms, there is an open gym area where we could stretch after the hike. We had a power shower with perfect power pressure and then dashed to breakfast.

What we ate:
Breakfast served in the same restaurant as dinner. The waitrons were incredibly efficient despite the fact they were understaffed. They tried their best to attend to their tables, but there is so much a human can do. The restaurant was the only negative part of our stay. Perhaps the establishment should hire more waitrons to assist during breakfast, what added to the tension was the constant shouting and swearing which came from the kitchen. We discovered the loud abuse came from the chef. I have never understood why chefs find it necessary to shout and belittle staff in a restaurant. Unfortunately, his verbal abuse heard throughout the restaurant.
Our waiter was apologetic about the situation. We ensured that they received personal tips for their sterling work.
I ate the delicious homemade Granola with fresh fruit, and my partner had the eggs, bacon and avocado. Unfortuabntaly that was cold. The following day we had the french toast and Granola.

Our adventures continued.

The rest of the day included walking through the beautiful myriads, pathways and secret gardens. The garden landscaping and rock features had small features attached and some with written scriptures or stories.

On arrival we had pre-ordered a picnic basket, so around 14h30 the porter collected us and drove us to a private little garden, where we could enjoy our picnic feast. Our picnic basket included plates of wraps, salads, chicken, meat and fish dishes as well as decadent desserts. It was so worth our money and we had enough food leftover which we had for dinner on our patio that night. We also had an ice bucket of soft drink and no-alcoholic beverages.

We spent the better part of the day enjoying the outside before it began to drizzle. We then finished up on our balcony, followed by a lovely afternoon siesta.

For sundowners, we went to the sundeck and enjoyed delicious mocktails. We had the Pina Colada, and a non alcoholic beer. We were able to enjoy the sunset and reflect on our wonderful stay.

The following morning, we checked out, went for breakfast. Unfortunately, the waitrons were still understaffed, but we managed to get a warm breakfast.

After that, we went on a game drive (approximately two and a half hours) which was the perfect end to a spectacular weekend.
Our guide is well-read on the farm’s vegetation, fauna and flora. We stopped for a light beverage and enjoyed the space with the farm’s wildlife.

The escape from the city, fresh air and pampering are what our souls needed.

Letsatsi Healing space

28 Jan

Letsatsi Healing space offers tailored programmes, to humans seeking healing, support, validation, growth and next-level performance in their work. The programmes are suitable for victims/survivors of GBV, humans who suffer from PTSD, humans who need life coaching,  focusing on relationships and career or a mixture of all the above. The programmes are led by Rosie Motene. 

At present Letsatsi Healing space, offers the following programmes.

1. The Validation programme 

(Depending on availability and resources, these sessions can be offered on a pro bono basis)

Your pain is valid.

Speaking out against GBV is never easy, and as history has dictated, many victims/survivors choose not to speak out for their reasons. This program is for those who have lived with the hidden trauma and wish to find a space to speak out, have somebody listen and believe them and try and find mechanisms to help them cope. 

The sessions offer a safe and confidential space. The sessions include guidance and counselling. The applicant will receive breathing and relaxation methods and mechanisms to cope through the trauma and PTSD. Included in this package are dietary suggestions as well as lifestyle changes to cope with the added trauma. 

Additional services in this programme include:

  • Assistance with opening a protection order.
  • Finding a lawyer (pro bono or paid)
  • Finding a safe house or shelter
  • Referral to institutions that can provide more intensive psychiatric advice and support. 

2. The Discovery programme

The Discovery programme offers intensive, high-impact coaching interventions. This programme is for steering the client towards higher value in the workplace, assist is start-up businesses or if the person has faced a period in their life when they require a complete change in career or work. The aim is to discover your hidden talents and skills to succeed in their work and career.

The programme’s duration is 12 to 16 weeks, with a check-in every quarter, thereafter for up to a year.

The programme is suitable for professionals, filmmakers or entertainment proprietors seeking a comprehensive programme to address their most pressing issues. 

3.Feel the sun again.

Designed for humans who have suffered any form of GBV or PTSD and need to change careers or work environments. In many cases after trauma, individuals struggle to cope in their work environments, especially if the trauma took place at work. The fact is, everybody reacts differently to trauma. The entertainment industry does not have concrete approaches to sexual harassment and abuse at work. South African labour laws do not support independent contractors or freelancers. In previous cases, victims/survivors have to work with their perpetrators.  Some businesses choose to overlook or not report sexual harassment and misconduct. 

The program takes place in approximately five stages.

  1. Creates a safe space for the client to identify their trauma and then find ways of healing.
  2. Find mechanisms that help one cope with the pain.
  3. Is the work environment, a safe space to continue the healing or is it triggering? The client will identify the triggers and then seek to find realistic short term and long term solutions. 
  4. The stage will be dependent if the client wishes to find a new job or career or find new ways of working that fall in line with the healing methods.
  5. This stage is optional, should the applicant wish to go the legal route in opening a case against their perpetrator. 

Due to Covid-19 regulations, the programmes are only amiable online via Zoom or Skype conference calls. 

Who is Rosie Motene?

Rosie Motene is a Queer Pan African Media proprietor, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts (Honours) from the University of the Witwatersrand. 

Rosie operates as a Queer feminist author, activist, speaker voice over artist and a Pan African entertainment manager. 

She founded the first Pan African talent agency, Waka Talent agency.

Her career has extended for over 25 years, an award-winning actor, TV and radio presenter, TV and film producer.

Rosie is an accredited international laughter and life coach. 

The official website is http://www.rosiemotene.biz

Waka Talent agency website is http://www.wakaagency.biz

Education:

WIts- University of the Witwatersrand BADA – Bachelor of Dramatic Arts                                 1994 to 1998
POWA- People Opposing Women AbuseRosie completed the three month intensive training course to equip her on the following: Counselling Public awareness and training volunteer Activism Court preparation2003
Multichoice The Producer and director course 2006
Laughing YogaRosie is an accredited laughing yoga coach2011
NFVF- National film and video foundationProducers course2012
TriFocus academyLife Coaching 2020
UN Women online course I Know Gender Modules 1 to 9  2020
Dr. Karen E Wells- CTAA – Complementary Therapists Accredited AssociationProfessional Counselling Diploma for Sexual Abuse2020
Dr. Karen E Wells- CTAA – Complementary Therapists Accredited AssociationFull accredited professional PTSD counselling Diploma 2020
Don KroppCertificate for Providing Trauma informed care 2020

Rosie Motene is a registered trademark under the South African: Trademark Application for ROSIE MOTENE (word mark) + visual representation in class 14 as well as class 16 and 41, physical representation 

and her name.

Contact us

Whatsapp only: +27 81 216 3394

Email: letsatsihealing@gmail.com

Womxn get Sh*t done.

5 Aug

On my platforms, I always share that my passions in life are womxn, Africa and the arts. We know that before COVID-19, we faced a crisis and that’s is of gender-based violence. Under the GBV platform, we also need to understand the level of financial abuse that happens in many forms, from making somebody work and not paying them, controlling somebodies finances, the list is endless. We underestimate the reality that home care is work, in many homes, an aunt or grandmother takes care of the children, home chores, cooks. They too deserve to be paid. When we move into the corporate space, we know that there is a significant difference in what men earn as opposed to what women receive, from entry-level to CEO level. The entertainment industry is no different. Many survivors have lost work and been blocked from future work as they have spoken out on abuse or irregularities that happen in the industry and on sets, they are ostracised. With the loss of events and gigs, artists and entertainers have lost an income altogether, and as we do not fall under SA labour laws, we are not covered or protected, even though we have been paying our taxes.

So as history has dictated, womxn are often left to pick up the scraps and make ends meet. Look at our mothers or grandmothers struggles, and there are endless stories are of how women have put their children through school by selling and doing multiple jobs, such as hawkers or those selling fresh produce. Activism work is not respected, and on many occasions, it is expected of us to provide corporates and government with content regarding the issues that we fight for, this exchange is often likely to be pro bono or as many corporate states it is part of the CSI (corporate social investment). Unfortunately, many of us do not operate from a place of privilege, and therefore the work is still working and is our livelihood, and we should be paid for our intellectual property, time and content.

So as we brave the uncertain future, we have to operate on a different frequency. Myself and many of my warriors have to find additional streams of income. PR and advertising have coined the phrase; we are moving into a new normal, let us prioritise those in need and make it ‘normal’ to support them. I have formulated a brief list of where we can assist a few warriors, myself included.

Poz Candy
Yvette Raphael sells head scarfs and masks, which have been made by retired grandmothers. The collections include a bouquet of table sets all beautifully crafted with African prints.
Pieces of African print are also available for the manufacture of wraps, dress and other items for ware. Whatsapp number +27 76 612 7704

Pictures of their work.

The Ntethelelo foundation.
Thokozani Ndaba is the founder of the Ntetheleo foundation. Due to the lockdown regulations, this community has been significantly affected and is need of many resources from sanitary ware for the ladies, basic household necessities, data for the children to get their homework. Their contacts details are
thokozani@ntethelelofoundation.org.za
More on their work – https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/ntethelelo-mastering-the-art-of-forgiveness/

Dr Bev Ditsie.
Our global icon Dr Bev Ditsie has partnered with Colour Central and have created a limited edition of t-shirts, sweaters.
The proceeds of the sales will go towards Dr Bev doctor’s bills.
https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2020/08/01/dr-bev-palesa-ditsie/

The merchandise.

One Man studios.

Kgomotso Matsunyane is the founder of One Man studios, a studio space to rent for dance and rehearsal, photography and videography, exhibition and co-hosting space. They have also created an area called ‘Die Urban Padstal’. On designated dates, they host a space for entrepreneurs to come and sell their locally made and produced items.
Contact details 8 Rogers Street, Selby.
Lebo@oneman.co.za

Loyiso Saliso
Womxn and human rights activist, HIV, SGBV and SRHR advocate, researcher, intersectional feminist and facilitator. The founder of
Khanyisa Ikamva projects. Their main objective is to empower and assist marginalised womxn and youth with academic, psychological, economic and social development.
Ivs.khanyisaikamva@yahoo.com

Waka Talent Agency
I founded Waka Talent agency in 2011. I have a footprint in 14 African countries that include SA, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, DRC, Angola, Gabon, Lesotho, Botswana, Liberia. Many of our contacts cancelled as productions stopped due to the travel bans. We now focus on our talent working in the digital space. We have a bouquet of elite TV presenters and speakers who can host and moderate webinars. Many of our clients are brand ambassadors and are perfect choices for influencer campaigns as well as digital marketing. Between our clientele of talent, we can produce voice-over work in languages, Swahili, Nigerian pidgin, Ghanaian pidgin, Luganda, Yoruba, Igbo, Se Tswana, English, French and Angolan Portuguese.
http://www.wakaagency.biz

Website address

#WeAreDoneTalking #Sueusall #Tellyourtruth

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa faced a crisis of its own, and that is gender-based violence. Johannesburg is named the rape capital of the world, and we have an alarmingly high rate of femicide.
In 2018, a collective of activists, NGO’s and academics issued our government with #24demands on what should happen about that crisis, they were accepted, but there has been no change. A few months later, the same activists and citizens invited the president to the first Gender summit, on stage, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, openly stated that we as a nation are in a crisis.

Over the decades, Intersectional Wom_n and Queer Bodies held protests, written essays and challenged our courts, yet our legal system does not support or protect those who speak out. When people speak out on their abuse, they are often intimidated, undermined, or publicly gaslighted; this is mainly when the alleged perpetrator is a public figure or wealthy. They then use their male privilege to silence survivors through PR campaigns and influential lawyers, who secure and granted urgent court applications. In many cases, the survivor has to deal with the emotional
trauma, the public scrutiny, and in some cases, even loses their jobs, then they have to face the injustice at the courts.
We have witnessed that these alleged violators have used these tactics of defamation of character and court papers, knowing that the police and judicial system does not support survivors.

The hashtag, #SueUsAll #WeAreDoneTalking is a public statement, confirming solidarity with survivors who have received lawyers letters with the hope of silencing them and causing additional trauma.

They are collating a list of lawyers, counsellors and organisations that can provide psycho-social support. They are open to creating partnerships that could assist in providing funding and support to those in need.
Contact wearedonetalking@gmail.com
Twitter @wearedonetalki1
Facebook: WeAre Donetalking
Instagram: @wearedonetalking

Information

The Cheeky Natives.

Logo

The Cheeky Natives is a literary podcast primarily focused on the review, curatorship and archiving of black literature. They also sell and distribute african literature and have assited in helping many local authors in selling and promoting their work. They offer moderating panels and written intrviews with authors and much much more.

http://www.cheekynatives.co.za

My Covid-19 Journey

30 Jul

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us started to take the necessary precautions. Before the South African lockdown was announced and changed our lives, I had moved my office to my living room, and began self-distancing. We only went to the shops for the essentials, and then we started using the various shopping apps. I was one of the people who sanitise my feet and shopping bags on entering my apartment; I thought I was doing everything right, or so I thought.

In mid-June, the temperatures in Johannesburg dropped at the onset of a cold front. It was unfortunate as that was also the day that we had a 24-hour blackout in our area and therefore had no access to warmth besides from bedclothes. After that day, my partner and I started to feel a little ill with flu-like symptoms. Nothing serious, so we dosed with the necessary flu medication and stayed indoors. Within a day, my body aches had decreased, but I had developed a chesty cough. I was not too concerned as the information that I had found regarding Covid-19 spoke to a dry cough. A few days later, my partner, who still had minor flu-like symptoms, had a hunch and insisted on going to a doctor. So I accompanied them to our closest GP, instructed through their medical aid. On arrival, The doctor then explained that she was sitting in for the official GP. The GP was staying away from the practice due to Covid-19 regulations as he was over 60 years of age. We were not too concerned until the substitute doctor did not use the medical apparatus and used an ordinary household torch to look at my partner’s throat and ears. We explained the symptoms and the doctor said we do not have the Coronavirus. Fortunately, my partner needed additional blood tests for dietary requirements, and we requested the necessary forms, we proceeded to a lab for testing.  

Our laboratory experiences. 

We went to our closest lab, and on arrival, we thought since we were there, my partner would get tested. The following day, we called the lab to see when the results would be out, and they could not locate the tests. We soon discovered that they had taken down my partner’s ID number and physical address incorrectly. We were concerned at the laboratory’s inefficacy to record information correctly; we rectified their mistakes and waited. After we remedied that, we received a call and confirmation that my partner had tested positive and the person on the other line stated that since we live together, I should come in immediately and get tested. The following day I went in. On arrival, one of the lab assistants came and asked me why I was there as I was not sick, I informed her of my symptoms and told her that her colleague had instructed me to come in as my partner had tested positive, she said it was not necessary. I ignored her and stayed in the queue. 

That night, my partner and I spoke about the realities of me being positive and if the odd possibility of me being negative, we planned how we would temporarily change our living arrangements. We contacted our medical friends and family, particularly those who had survived after being infected and those who had treated COVID patients. We received lists and suggestions and then made the online order and stocked up the necessary items. 

Two days later, my tests results came back positive, by the way after disocvering that the lab had also messed up my deatils. We now had to try and shift our mindsets into being realistic to our emotions, heal, be there for each other but also plan accordingly. 

I will speak to the emotional rollercoaster, later, but this became our daily routine for two weeks.

  1. Steam twice a day with Vicks and eucalyptus oil. Find a suitable bowl, fill it with boiling water, add a spoon full of Vicks vapour rub and a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Put your head over the bowl and cover yourself with a heavy blanket. At first, it is daunting, but soon we got used to it. The steaming helps with the chest, lungs and coughing. We did this for 15 minutes at a time and twice a day, morning and evening.
  2. Rinse out your mouth 3 to 5 times a day with warm saltwater.
  3. Vitamin D- We could not locate any vitamin D, so we opted for direct sunlight every day for about an hour.
  4. Vitamin C- We took Vitamin C 1000 mg effervescent, twice a day. We ate 3 to 5 oranges a day.
  5. Zinc. We could not locate zinc tablets, so we opted for foods that had a high dosage of Zinc. These included beans, samp, chicken legs oatmeal and various vegetables.
  6. We only ate warm food and drank warm drinks. These varied from ginger tea, while getting our sunlight in the morning to boiling ginger, garlic and lemon and drinking throughout the day. 
  7. Sleeping- I slept on my tummy, over a pillow with a hot water bottle underneath. According to an MD, this assists with the chest and lungs.
  8. Medicines- Acc 2000 for the cough. Linctagon flu caps and sachets. Sinutab for the headache. No antibiotics.
  9. Mobility is important. So we did moderate exercise, this was more difficult for me as I struggled with my breath and chest area. So I gave myself goals and monitor my progress. The day, I was able to make it down the stairs, without losing my breathing and coughing heavily, I rewarded myself with a dance. There were several breathing exercises that we did. 
  10. Rest, rest and rest. Due to the anxiety and pain, we had many restless nights. We would often wake up and check on each others breathing, and heartburn played a significant role. One evening I also vomited. So if we needed to sleep during the day, we allowed for that. 

The emotional rollercoaster.

 As much as we needed the information, we had to detach from social media and news reports. Many days, I prayed and gave gratitude that although the pandemic and cut off an income for myself and my business, I was still living and operating from a place of privilege. I have a loving partner, I live in a safe home, and we had access to resources to provide us with the necessary meds and food, and we had friends and family who assisted with additional drop-offs. As much as I held onto that gratitude, there were a few days and hours that I was angry, that I cursed the deadly virus, I owned the anger and pain and then accepted the next emotions. One day I went into commando mode, checked up on my life policy and will and contacted my cousin, who will handle my estate, to tell her and inform her of my wishes, should it come to that. In 2018, my cousin had passed away and did not leave any instructions of his policies, will etc. During that time, a few family members and I had to look through his documents so to find policy numbers and will. I remember saying to myself that I would not want that to happen to me. 

A week later, we showed signs of improvement; the only worrying factor was my breathing and coughing. We had regained our sense of taste and smell. After the 14 days isolation period, my partner was healed and was cleared for work. My process took a little longer. My body was still weak, I could breathe at approximately 80%, but I still had a bad cough. As my doctor said, the 14-day isolation period is to get one through the worst, but the virus could live in our bodies for months after and that I should still take precaution. That would explain why some times, I am healthy and other days; I have coughing sprees and difficulty breathing. The COVID mushy brain, which inlcuded slight loss of memory and biref moments of cunfusion took some time, but I think its gone.

There are other areas of my body that did still do not feel right. I had dry patches between my toes and fingers. My friend Thokozani stated, she can feel that her organs are now operating differently. It is difficult to explain, but some days are good, and some days a few ailments return. As a doctor put it, we now have to operate with COVID Lungs, which are very unpredictable. Some days, I’m healthy and fit, and other days, the heavy closed feeling covers my chest area. I have set new goals for my ‘COVID lungs. These include getting around the zoo lake without breaks. Before Covid-19, this I did without any difficulty. So this week I embarked on the journey but had many stops as my COVID lungs reminded me to test drive in a different gear. With the pauses, God whispered to me, to take note of the beauty around, the magnificent autumn leaves, sunset and that I am alive to witness it all.

It is now four weeks after my isolation period, I have a minor cough and on the odd occasion a coughing spree and running nose with excessive sneezing. I then sit in the sun and take additional vitamins. 

We have started to wean ourselves off the vitamins n so our bodies can build up resistance and I have opted to take daily natural tonic, that has been mixed by my healer, Attaqua Ethel Williams Herandien. You can find her on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/ethel.abrahamse

So where to from here? We still live in gratitude, are we free from contracting the virus again, who knows, how long will it be around for, who knows. All I can share is that we approach life, how we spend our time, differently and embrace our emotions.

A special thank you for all the prayers, love, assistance. Thank you for the deliveries, calls and message. Thank you to Nativa products for sending the Linctagon hamper, it was much appreciated. 

Link to my Youtube channel, this was recorded just after our isolation period.

I want to send prayers and wishes to those who are still ill or in bereavement, especially to those who don’t have the privileges as we have had. I pray that our government do what’s right and provide all with the dignity and right to adequate health care. I pray for reliable mental health facilities and an overhaul of our medical institutions.

Respect, to our warriors in Malawi!

11 Feb

IMG_1416

My three passions in life are Women, Africa, and the arts. A few weeks back we stood in solidarity with the warriors in Malawi, who decided to take a stand against gender-based violence. I reached out to the organizers to see how as a Pan African feminists we could show solidarity and try and help create awareness for the amazing work that they are doing.
I was led to a powerful young force, named Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo. Ulemu, meaning ‘Respect’ is a 22-year-old feminist, she is the founder and president of the Young Feminists Network, a network which serves as a platform for young feminists to engage in dialogue and activism for social justice. The Network currently has 66 members with chapters in 3 cities; Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Zomba. With such a powerful name, she can only receive the respect she deserves as she works on being the change that is needed in the world.

PHOTO-2020-02-11-13-59-18
Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo

Through our work as activists, we are all faced with many challenges, regarding our safety, which is governed by policies and laws, that have been set out according to patriarchal principles. In Malawi, the situation is no different, as feminists, particularly the young feminists, one of the major challenges they face is the misconceptions about feminism. As Ulemu stated, ‘a lot of people seem to misunderstand what feminism is and what it seeks to achieve, some because they lack access to information and others because they don’t agree with feminism and deliberately misrepresent it at any given chance. Such misconceptions include the fact that feminism is a movement that seeks to get rid of men or to make women more dominant than men. This ignores the basic premise of feminism which recognizes the oppression women have faced since time immemorial and seeks to deconstruct the patriarchy which upholds this marginalization of women’.

She went on to say that, ‘people believe feminism is unAfrikan. However, this is also a misconception. Although the theories and conceptualizations of feminism may have originated in the West, acts of resistance to the patriarchy have existed in Afrika for centuries. Therefore, it isn’t anything new. ‘

Within the activism space, whether you are based in Africa or the USA, funding is always an issue, and of course in Malawi, it is no different. A lot of funding opportunities apply to registered organizations only, which makes it hard for informal feminist movements to get funding for their operations.

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The Malawi women in March 2020.

On 1st February 2020, the Young Feminists Network in collaboration with PEPETA (an online community of young female SRHR activists from DRC, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) and over 20 other organizations and individuals organized the “Take It To The Streets” march against VAWG (violence against women) in Malawi. When we go up against the patriarchy, we are always met with resistance, in their case they were denied police protection from the relevant authorities and this was a major obstacle because this effectively meant the march couldn’t take place. Like, true warriors, they did not let this minor obstacle stop them from pushing ahead, they could not hold an official march so they were able to mobilize large numbers and in Blantyre they held a rally, in Lilongwe and Mzuzu they managed to march regardless.
Despite all the deliberate hiccups, in the end, they still managed to achieve their goal of raising awareness on the issues and calling for action from various stakeholders.

The PanAfrican warriors from Zambia, Kenya, and SA, showed solidarity with them through social media and various press. This also brought attention to a sexual assault case, in Blantyre. They were able to set up a time and visited a warrior, Vanessa Chilanga. Vanessa is a woman who was sexually assaulted by a gang of men in Blantyre. She was visited and they are currently creating platforms and strategies to help and support her and other survivors.

What can we do?
We need solidarity with our warriors from across the world, particularly on our continent. To assist the Young Feminists Network or the feminist movement in Malawi in general, please continue to follow their work and stand in solidarity with them and help amplify their voices by sharing what is happening.
As we know International women’s day is approaching so strategic collaboration would also be great and essential. Do you have any platforms, events or stages that we could collaborate on?
Let us get the conversation started. We can start small, with our feminists in the SADC region, we are all in the same time zones, so what is stopping us?

How to get in contact with The Young Feminist Network in Malawi-
Instagram @yfn265
Twitter @yfn265

Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo- @ulemuhk

Rosie Motene @rosiemotene

In solidarity,​ we stand!!!!

The Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC)

20 Jan

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My three passions in life are Women, Africa, and the arts. In 2019, I attended the Ugandan Feminist forum where I had the opportunity to meet and work with some of Uganda’s powerful warriors who are advocating for change. One lady was Ms Kyomya Macklean, the executive director for the Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC). She is also a social Worker & Champion of the sex worker Movement in Uganda

The Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC) is a network of grassroots female sex worker led-organizations in Uganda. The NGO was established in 2015 by the champions of the female sex worker movement to promote meaningful involvement and collective organizing of rural & peri-urban Female Sex Workers (FSWs), especially those operating in hard to reach areas such as slum areas, landing sites, transit routes. It was established to enable rural & peri-urban based grassroots FSWs to live free from human rights abuse to live healthy and productive lives in Uganda.

AWAC Core Values:
* Mutual Respect and Integrity.
* Empowerment and Meaningfully involvement
* Transparency and Accountability
* Evidence-based programming and human rights-based approach
* Innovation and Excellence

AWAC’s Objectives
* To promote and raise awareness on the welfare needs of sex workers and also advocate for policies that further the health and values of sex workers; These rights include the right to health and a safe working environment free from abuse, violence, and discrimination in Uganda.
* Strengthening a vibrant national and sustainable sex workers’ movement in Uganda.
* Mobilizing and organizing sex workers for policy advocacy and facilitative opportunities for the voices of sex workers​ to be heard in relevant forums both at a national and international level.
* Developing and sustaining linkages between service providers, sex worker organizations and relevant stakeholders to provide practical information and opportunities for quality services and information sharing among sex worker organizations and projects which provide services to sex workers.
* To economically empower grassroots rural and peri-urban FSWs to diversify their income and improve their social-economic well-being in Uganda.
* To provide social protection, psychosocial support, and mental health needs to children of FSWs engaged in sex work in Uganda.
* To undertake research and document human rights abuses experienced by grassroots FSWs engaged in sex work for evidence-based programming, advocacy and policy change in Uganda.

AWAC is governed by a Female only board of five members. They have wide experience in corporate governance. They have various professional backgrounds ranging from human rights, medicine, financial management, gender and HIV programming, and a sex worker community representative with a wealth of lived experiences in grassroots advocacy. The organisation​ is headed by the Executive Director and directly supported by five marshalled​ and indigenous staff including Advocacy and communication Manager, Research and knowledge management Manager, Programs Manager, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) and Business Development Manager and the Finance and Administrative Manager. The above staff have impeccable experience in leadership, resource mobilization, strategic planning, policy and advocacy, collaboration, networking, and partnerships building, economic empowerment, mental health management (counseling and psychotherapy), OVC case management/ child protection), Gender-Based Violence prevention and management, HIV and sexual reproductive health and rights programming, documentation, research, and learning.

The core business of AWAC is to improve the health and socio-economic well-being of vulnerable women especially female sex workers including those facing multiple forms of vulnerabilities such as those living with disabilities. Additionally, WAC targets children of female sex workers living in destitute conditions and adolescent young girls engaged in sex work. They work to mobilize and multi-skill them through mentorship/coaching, functional adult literacy, safe space dialogues to increase their self-esteem and improve health-seeking behavior, raise financial literacy and improve livelihood and overall socio-economic well-being through a variety of income-generating activities such as hair salons, retail shops, shoemaking, catering, craft making, tailoring, theatre for development among others. They also advocate​ for the protection of rights and equitable access to services for vulnerable women. They work with various organizations that serve as referral points for services that it does not directly offer. These include health units, social welfare departments of government, law enforcement officers, non-governmental organizations and other donor-funded projects.

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Contact details:

Located: Mulago; Kampala Uganda
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/awacuganda
Twitter: http://twitter.com/awacuganda
Skype: kyomya.macklean
Phone: +256414664730, +256701603754
Email: awacuganda@gmail.com, kmacklean@gmail.com

The Uganda Feminist Forum.

28 Aug

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My three passions in life are womxn, Africa, and the arts. I was humbled to be invited and represent South Africa in 2019, Uganda Feminist Forum, which was in Jinja, Uganda. 

Background on UFF:
The Uganda Feminist Forum (UFF) was born out of several national and regional processes aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the feminist movement at the national and regional level. In 2005, womxn leaders and activists came together at a historic gathering in Jinja, Uganda under the auspices of Actionaid Uganda, Uganda women network and Akina Mama Wa Afrika. The meeting sought to map a way forward for the women’s movement in Uganda in the aftermath of a series of setback which culminated in the government ban of the play “The Vagina Monologues”. It was evident that serious intervention was needed to create space spaces for feminists on the continent. Thus the African feminist Forum was established and convened in Accra on November 2006. The Jinja participants joined forces with AFF and became the Uganda feminist Forum.

I documented the AFF, the link can be found here..https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/?s=African+feminist+forum&submit=Search.

The UFF adopted the Charter of Feminist Principles for African feminists, which was developed by the AFF and provides the philosophical, aspirational and principle values that all who are members must uphold.
The charter can be found here:

The African Feminist Charter

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This years forum was held 30 July to 1 August under the theme- ‘Silencing Our Fears and Fearing Our Silence”.The delegates included feminists and activists from across Uganda. there was also a Pan African delegation that included me, representing South Africa and Zimbabwe, Rwanda, India, and Kenya were represented.

My journey.
Please note that I have not added any names out of safety and respect for the delegates. 
I left South Africa in the early hours of July 30th, I connected via Nairobi, Kenya. On arrival at Entebbe airport, Myself and another delegate were collected and we embarked on our road trip to Jinja. The road trip took us an approximate three hours as we traveled in a northeast direction, we were blessed with experiencing the magnificent Ugandan landscape.
On arrival at our secret location, we were met with the wonderful staff from Akina Mama Wa Afrika. We checked into our cute chalets, equipped with two large beds, lounge, bathroom, all overlooking the majestic Victoria Lake.
In the dining hall, we began to meet the rest of our feminist tribe.


Day 1.
We began the day with meditation and African yoga. The session was led by one of the delegates, who is a certified yogi and a trauma healing and self-defense expert.
This was the perfect way to begin each day as it centered us for the next 10 to 12 hours. 
The day began with introductions, acknowledging the Feminist charter and discussion sessions as well as solutions.
The room was made up of feminists, lawyers, farmers, entrepreneurs, sex workers, doctors, activists. Powerful testimonies were shared by a few who had attended the first forum, it was noted that a lot of progress had been made from the initial forum, certain ignorant members walked at the presence of women who represented the LGBTQI community.

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Through the discussion and panels, we looked at topics such as how do we handle life transitions from death, womanhood, pregnancy, menopause, etc. We focused on the lack of finance and resources that are made available to womxn in Africa, through a session titled- “Silence in the Economy”. We unraveled the shocking truths of womxn being paid half than their male counterparts especially in the private sector, one of the delegates highlighted the fact of womxn missing in critical spaces. An explanation was made of how tax is crucial for womxn to have access to social securities and the impact of Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) to womxn. In Uganda, they lose to about 2 trillion UGX, approximately​ $541 960 000,00, to IFFs a year. This could fund the country’s​​ health budget.
For centuries, womxn have occupied spaces in the home, such as taking care of the aged, children, family and household, this constitutes as unpaid care work, we explored both the practical and theory behind it.

It was a powerful space where we learned from each other. From my perspective it was two-fold, I learned and understood the challenged from a Pan-African perspective and also learning from the younger feminists in the room.

The session which was led by women who represent Sex Workers of Uganda dealt with the challenges and realities. Through their participation at a South African conference held by Sonke Justice, they were able to benefit and gain additional knowledge. Understanding the need to invest capital in the industry, thus creating the sex workers conference. The positive outcomes led to empowered members on a financial and educational level. One of the women graduating with a Ph.D.
The next session we unpacked the economics of African feminism under power versus politics. The day also allowed for tributes to Sella Nyanzi and other Ugandan feminists who fought before us.

The second part of the day focused on packaging resistance in our territories. We all understand that many communities are aware of our rights but many of us cannot fight for them.
The rights of the Queer feminist were a centre point, which is an issue that resonates across the continent. We all need to create spaces and communities which allows for a safe and free living for all, that gives everyone respect without being questioned about one’s sexuality.

The quote for this session:
‘We ask not to be tolerated but to be respected as we unlearn rudely and patriarchal ideologies that are attached to the LGBTQI community.’

We looked at inter-generational feminism as we all acknowledge that there has been a historical muting of women through patriarchy. 
The quote of the session-

Feminism is a collective responsibly.


Day 2.
We started the day with meditation and Yoga and then broke into sessions of groups, with more panel discussions. Finding resolutions and way strategies that we need to apply in our personal spaces.
I sat on a panel with Maggie Kigozi, an investment Promotion Expert, an Entrepreneur, a farmer, and a feminist. She is Chairperson of the Africa Scout Foundation and Joyce Nangobi Rosemary, the founder of the Slum Women’s Initiative for Development in Jinja. I unpacked the realities and challenges from a South African perspective​ and why it is​ necessary for Pan African​ synergies within the feminist​ spaces​ so that we can learn for other territories​.

The last day culminated in a visit to the Nyonga Women’s Shelter and the Slum Women’s Initiative For Development (SWID).  
The Her-stories can be found here:
https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/14/slum-womens%E2%80%8B-initiative%E2%80%8B-for-development-swid/

The Nyonga Women’s​ shelter:
https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/17/the-nyonga-womens-shelter-jinja%E2%80%8B-uganda/

​​For more information on how you can assist, please contact​ Akina Mama Wa Afrika https://www.akinamamawaafrika.org

End

Rwanda- The land of a thousand hills

9 Apr

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My three passions in life are Women, Arica, and the arts. When I founded my Pan African talent agency, Waka Talent, in 2011, my dream was to have a footprint and synergies with territories across Africa. Rwanda was one of the countries that were in my Pan African expansion plans.
I, like many people, was awakened to the country Rwanda through the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Through the media, we were fed a few of the facts that the Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda during the Rwandan Civil War, which started in 1990. It was said to have been directed by members of the Hutu majority government during the 100-day period from 7 April to 15 July 1994. At that time in my life, I was uneducated about the history of our continent, as our educational system was based on the biased and untrue view through the eyes of the colonizers.
In 1994, I was in a relationship with a boy who was of Rwandan origin and before the brutal break-up, I was able to hear of the harrowing stories of how his family fled the country. I remember a few days, whilst visiting them in their Johannesburg home, the family were incredibly worried, as their grandmother had gone missing from her village in Rwanda but was soon discovered after walking for days, she was then brought to South Africa to live with the family. Although she did not speak English the pain and trauma in her eyes spoke volumes.
Fast forward to 2004, I was cast in one of the first films made on the genocide, Hotel Rwanda. Once again the trauma and history intrigued me.

My Rwandan experience.
The background.
Rwanda is a republic in central and eastern Africa. Uganda is to its north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. Over the years, it has been reported that the capital city, Kigali is the safest city in Africa. I was rather overwhelmed at the sense of calmness and as a global citizen who has traveled to many cities, I can honestly say that I felt 100% safe, walking the streets, lying in bed or exploring in the middle of town. The streets are immaculate, the people, like the rest of East Africa, are welcoming, humble and wonderful to talk to. On my morning walks,​ I was welcomed to the magnificent landscape of rolling hills, organised traffic, Bod-Boda driver (Motorbike taxis) and as mentioned before, a wonderful​ sense​ of calmness.


On the streets of Kigali.

Since the end of the Genocide, the country has been socially and politically stable. As a result, agriculture, roads, mining, and tourism have developed. The government also placed itself as the leader in gender equality principles.

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The Memrorial.
On visiting the genocide memorial, I learned many interesting facts but the one that stood out the most was the truth behind the fraction between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes, facts that media have not revealed.
This is what i discovered-
Humans migrated to what is now Rwanda after the last ice age. Hunter-gatherers settled the area in the late Stone Age and were followed by early Iron Age settlers. These were ancestors of the Twa, a group of Pygmy hunters who still remain in Rwanda. Additional migrations took place between 700 BC and 1500 AD. This divided society into three groups which are the Hutu, Tutsis, and the original Twas. For centuries, these three groups live in harmony, it was only when the colonizers entered the territory, did they create the tension and hierarchy between the Hutus and Tutsis. It was in 1884, the Berlin Conference assigned Germany Ruanda-Urundi. German East Africa was then formed when this area was combined with Tanganyika. In 1894, Gustav Adolf von Gotzen explored the country. The Germans favored the Tutsi group and help suppress the Hutu group of people. During World War I, the Belgians took the territory.

It was World War I, Rwanda became a League of Nations mandate with Belgium in control. Belgium also kept the class system in place and promoted Tutsi supremacy. They also considered the groups to be different races and created identity cards labeling each person a member of the Tutsi, Hutu, or Twa group. They based this classification on arbitrary physical characteristics. This fact, sent shivers down my spine as it reminded me of the South Africa apartheid laws of classifying black people, with the pencil test.
(The pencil test is a method of assessing whether a person has Afro-textured hair. In the pencil test, a pencil is pushed through the person’s hair. How easily it comes out determines whether the person has “passed” or “failed” the test. This test was used to determine racial identity in South Africa during the apartheid era, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. The test was partially responsible for splitting existing communities and families along perceived racial lines. Its formal authority ended with the end of apartheid in 1994. It remains an important part of South African cultural heritage and a symbol of racism.)

This friction continued after World War II, here the two groups emerged and became rivals, one based on the Tutsi elite and the other based on Hutu emancipation.
This rivalry continued throughout the ages right up until the known 1994 Genocide.
My time at the memorial was traumatic as the two-hour tour gives you insight into the back history. Picture, artifacts, clothes, personal items are on display. There is also a beautiful rose garden of remembrance, where families can go and show respect to their family members and friends that were killed in the genocide. As a group, we laid a wreath on the tombs and said a prayer.

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The Mashariki film festival.
Earlier this year, I reached out to the Mashariki Film festival as I wanted to create a synergy between them and my agency, http://www.wakaagency.biz. They responded​ and we entered​​ into a partnership​.
I flew into​ Kigali​ for​ the festival, which​ is in its 5th edition. My agency was an official partner and I also sat on the jury for the African​ feature film category. I wanted to host an acting and producers master class but the schedule was full, so on my​ next visit in the year, I plan to see Waka Agency can work with actors and performers​ from http://mashirika.com​. They are a performance art​ and​d media company, not affiliated to the festival but have been in existence for nearly two decades. ​

– Opeing night of The festival.

The festival categories were made up of the following:
African feature films, African short films, African documentaries, East African feature films, East African short films, East African, and national short films. Each category had a team of three jury members, assigned to watch, critique and analyze each submission.
The jury groups were made up of film and industry practitioners​ from across the world. My jury included Klaus Keli​ from Germany and Kivu Ruhorahoza, from Rwanda.
Klaus, a revered filmmaker​​ educator​ , ​and trainer, who has worked extensively in Europe and has been instrumental in training in East Africa, particularly in Rwanda. Kivu is internationally known for his feature film Grey Matter which won the Jury Special Mention for Best Emerging Filmmaker at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and the Ecumenical Jury special mention at the 2011 Warsaw Film Festival. He also won the Grand Prize of the Tübingen French Film Festival, Best Director and Signis Award of the Cordoba African Film Festival and the Jury Special Prize of the Khouribga Film Festival in Morocco.

We were given the task of watching​ 12 full-length​ feature films with the aim of sourcing the best in the selection. The films submitted came from all African territories​ from South Africa,​ Kenya, Morocco​, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and others. Of the jury’s​ that I have​ sat on, I have to say that this selection was incredibly tough, the majority of the films were all high​ callibre.
After many hours of debate, deliberation, a few​ disagreements​s, we all agreed that the best film in our selection came from Morocco.

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The film Indigo by Selma Bargach.
Indigo is the color blue of the aura given by a psychic to children who have the gift of clairvoyance​. This is shown through the main character, Nora. The actress, Rim Kettani is a first-time actress and is only 13 years old, she brilliantly narrated the story of a young girl who is confronted with violence and the world of the irrational.
The filmmaker​​ did an excellent​​t job in narrating the story and directing the film, creating magnificent​​t mise-en-scene and emotionally driven scenes.
We as the jury believed​ that the story has universal appeal.

The lack of gender equality.
As Rwanda has become known as one of the most gender equal territories, I was rather disappointed at the lack of representation​ of female filmmakers. On the opening night, there was very little mention of the female input to the festival, The festival has a platform titled, ‘Girls in film’. At first, this intrigued me as I saw it as a possible platform for young girls to learn the world of filmmaking, only to discover that the platform is for women who have graduated in film and working as producers and filmmakers. Another alarming incident was on the closing night, along with other jury members and delegates, both male and female, it was noted and discussed the lack of female representation in speeches, acknowledgment, and presence. The prize for the best actress was awarded by an all-male delegation and as the emcee stated the most powerful filmmakers in Rwanda. I find that worrying as there are many female filmmakers and practitioners who could have added value to that. The snide and below the belt comment from the emcee was also unwelcomed by many, it went along the lines of perhaps the actress knows each of the male representatives personally. We need to move away from that type of language. After the comment, there was an uncomfortable silence from the audience. I have brought these facts up with the organizers but being the feminist that I am,I have also made contact with local female filmmakers on how we can work together as African filmmakers and writers, so to ensure this gender disparity does not occur again. The festival has welcomed the suggestion.

Other activities.
In between my jury duties, workshop attendance and watching films, I managed to experience some of Rwandan city life. My Kenyan sister, Nyambura Waruinzi and I treated ourselves to steak at a lovely restaurant​, close to our residence. The food was delicious, ambiance​​ and decor were​ magical, a little pricey but worth the experience. When two powerful​ Africa​n female forces get together over red wine and a meal, it can only lead greatness. Watch this space for future Kenya​- SA projects​.

After our meal, we met up with our other delegates​​s for a night of dancing, laughter, ​and fun.

I also was treated to true Rwandan cuisine​, thanks to my Jury colleague, Kivu.

We had Cassava leaves known as Isombe, Chicken curry, spicy aubergine with potatoes​ and chicken​ curry, East​ African style.


On another day I had the opportunity​ of having a meeting at the Ikirezi Bookstore. This book​ store hosts a bouquet of African​ authors and hopefully will stock my book soon. The book store is close to downtown Kigali and has a spectacular view.


My love for East Africa has now been extended to Rwanda, I would like to give special thanks to my superb hosts Jean de Dieu Ngirabaganwa, the Assistant Coordinator of the festival. He is also a revered director, camera operator, ​and fixer in Rwanda. Our on the ground hosts, Mwiza Gloria, Didier Mpatha and Bingo Regis. All three ensured we were happy at all times, drove us to the necessary destinations and shared the beautiful East African hospitality. They truly made our stay a memorable one.
To my new family and friends who stayed at the same apartment compound as me as well as the other delegates, thank you for the laughs, honest conversations and for sharing delicate and beautiful stories.


When creative Africans unite.

Look out for my next blog where I will share my time with some ofRwanda’s most talents performers.

Until next time Murakoze Urakoze, Asante Sana, thank you!!​

Moving SWIFTly along!!

3 Dec

My three passions in life are Women, Africa, and the arts. I trained through POWA (people opposing women abuse) over 17 years ago and ever since I have been using my knowledge, expertise, and experience to create awareness on abuse and help survivors.
In 2015 I gave up acting after an unfortunate incident, which can be read here: https://city-press.news24.com/Voices/rosie-motenes-metoo-statement-20180429

After I resigned, I received an influx of private messages from actresses who had worked with the same particular producer and thanked me, as they had received the same treatment, some were fired and some succumbed to the demands. The unfortunate reality is that women have suffered for centuries by having to prove themselves, the couch audition is very real and often actresses are expected to perform sex acts just to get ahead. I worked extensively with SAGA http://www.saguidlofactors.co.za on the matter and they have really been a pillar of strength and support not only on a personal level but they have been credible in their work ethic and standpoint. In 2018 I met with the new management of the same production house who were horrified at the findings and the matter are resolved effectively and I feel satisfied as I know their sets will be safe for artists and crew to work on.

At the beginning of the year, I was alerted to a disturbing tweet regarding a fellow industry player. My blog on the matter can be found here:
https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/rape-crisis-support-those-who-speak-out/

When I wrote that particular article I was concerned but also I felt guilty as many years back the accused called me a cock teaser after I got out of a very comfortable situation that he deliberately put us in. I knew that the time would be right to support the survivors as for a long time I felt that perhaps if I had ousted him then, perhaps I could have saved so many other rapes.
I then made the decision to contact SWIFT, through Sara Blecher. They assured me that they had been waiting for my call despite knowing where I was they never made the initial contact.
SWIFT- Sisters Working in Film & TV started the organization in 2016.

Charl Blignaut from City Press newspaper contacted me for an interview and I was in two minds to share my story as a few days prior I had spoken to a SWIFT representative who suggested that I do not go public. I sat on the decision and then I decided that as an activist I owed it to the other survivors and I participated in the article:
https://city-press.news24.com/News/khalo-matabane-women-speak-out-20180429

After the whole process, I realized that I had not dealt with that period effectively and reading up on the other survivor’s stories, I was triggered as I was still dealing with a separate trauma, I was raped nearly 20 years ago but never did anything about it and I purposely suppressed it. These triggers led to anxiety and elevated my fibromyalgia. A condition that I was diagnosed with after suffering from PTSD. I knew then that I would have to deal with my inner conflict and pain but I needed to gain as much support emotionally and psychologically. So I needed help and felt that SWIFT would be able to supply us with the necessary support as one of their mandates was tackling the sexual harassment in the industry. PTSD and these illnesses and triggers are very common to survivors of sexual harassment, rap, and abuse.

I began working with Aliki, Natalie, and Sara and agreed to be part of a panel at an event which was meant to be a safe space, the invite is below. My assistance to them included interviews, meetings and using my own resources, as an activist I was glad to assist.

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The panel included experts from the legal fraternity ad myself.
At the event Carolyn Carew, whom I knew as a revered and professional producer stood up and read out a written testimony, pouring out her heart. I truly felt for her story and after she was done, I even said that she needed to find healing. She had stated that she did know about the allegations against Khalo Matabane and had subsequently fired him from her company and seemed to be more worried about the release of her new movie. He had directed that particular film along with a number of others. Her major concern was that she would lose a lot of money.

A few days after the event, I then met with Sara, Carolyn, and members from SAGA on working out a way forward. The meeting was held at Sara’s home. I had mentioned in the meeting that I had sent an email to the IPO (independent producers organisation) for a response on the matter and that i was waiting to hear back. I also shared some of my strategy forward, regarding our reporting and legal route. At this pont in time, I had no idea that Carolyn was in fact the chair person of the IPO and when I shared my plans she did inform me that she was the one who had received the complaint. A few days later we received a repsone from IPO and stating that Khalo was not a member, I was initially satisfied but I then I discovered that he might not have been a member but his business artner, Carolyn was the chair and had orchestrted the mail.
We managed to obtain proof of this below:

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All the while I had been assisting and supporting survivors who had shared their stories publically as well as many others who did not want to reveal their identity. This is a common factor in these cases as survivors fear intimidation and in my case blacklisted as an actress, as you are seen as being diffiuclt and too opinionated. I still respect their deicon and I still believe them and I will support the to the grave.

A few months later many people questioned me as to why Carolyn had not made a public statement on the matter. It was then that I learned that she in fact was not his employer but a business partner as he was the director of her films and a director in the business and held a percentage in the production company. I was also awakened to the fact that she had orchestrated the IPO response but failed to mention it in the private meeting that was held at Sara house. This was worrying.
One of the survivors contacted Sara and asked these questions and Sara’s response was that the press release had been issued. In a private email to Sara and the survivor, I questioend this. Please read below. Please note I have omitted the last part of the email as it incuded perosnal infomtion on one of the other survivors and I shared with Sara as I believed it to be safe.

Greetings Ladies,

I hope you are well.

I wanted to write to both of you at the same time, as I believe in transparency.

Firstly, I wanted to thank both of you for your support and allowing me the platforms to push my passion and activism, the industry really needs that energy and force.

I do believe that moving forward, we need clarity on certain things so we are all on the same page. We cannot allow ourselves to become divided on this as it will dilute our fight.

With regard to the Khalo issue:

1. A few survivors will be opening cases but we are working on a few logistics and Inge and myself will share that with SWIFT when the time is right.
As per my previous mail, we wanted to know if SWIFT would stand in solidarity with us, yourself and Aliki replied, saying that the decision would be made by the board. I respect that and I will wait for that response.

2. The AGM. I believe the AGM has been moved for logistics reason. The time that it was meant to happen was 11h00 thus excluding many JHB and CT members as they would prefer to have it after hours. There will be an alternative meeting that will take place. As per my previous mail to Sara, please let me know what the agenda is, as I was planning to travel but if it is not that important then I can Skype through.

3. The Carolyn issue. This has come up on many social media streams as well as conversations that I have had with Inge. Carolyn did speak out the issue at the JHB meeting but I have not gone public on her speech as the meeting and space was a sacred one. It was a safe space for us women to unleash, share and find healing. It would be wrong and disrespectful for me to publicly make those announcements. This has then led to a number of filmmakers believing that SWIFT is protecting Carolyn and indirectly Khalo, as they are unaware that she has removed herself from Khalo. I am not sure how you plan to make this public but perhaps ask if you can make her comment public and then notify the other members that you have received that permission. This is to ensure that the other members still feel safe.

There was a response to some of the areas, but there was no mention on my response on the Khalo issue.

After continually​ asking this question I soon felt unsafe as I shared a lot of private information​ via email regarding​ our strategy, legal route etc.
I then decided to distance myself​ from Swift and the email is below, once​ again I have omitted the end part of the mail as it contains confidential information on one of the survivors and her well being.

*******************************************************************************
From: Rosie Motene
Date: Monday, August 6, 2018 at 9:23 AM
To: Aliki Saragas
Cc: Sara Blecher,​ Natalie Haarhoff
Subject: Re: distance from swift

Greetings

I hope you are all well.

I would like to inform you that from a personal standpoint I will be distancing myself from SWIFT.

I regarded this as a safe space as well as our jhb meeting. I understand your loyalty to Carolyn and her company but my concern is for the survivors.
With the IPO statement,​ Carolyn did not disclose that she had orchestrated the response. Her response at the jhb meeting was met with concern and as I told her she needed to heal. I then discovered that response was shared publicly, as a participant of the meeting, I find it concerning as we were not informed. What else was made public? Remember you declared it as a safe space.

*******************************************************************************

A few weeks after my​ email was sent I was invited to an interview on a TV show called Daily Theta. There I​ met with Zoe Ramushu who told me that she had received​d my mail and that she would respond. I was surprised at what she said as in the past few months I had never met with her and all my email and telephonic and personal corresponadne had been with Sara, Natalie and Aliki.

*******************************************************************************
Response from Zoe through the SWIFT board:
On 22 Aug 2018, at 18:48, Chiriseri Studios wrote:

Good day Rosie,

I’m so glad we met and were able to chat. As per our conversation,​ I’d just wanted to reach out formally as SWIFT to just apologize for the ways in which some of the issues around Khalo were handled.

We are so proud of the women who spoke up and started the wave of more women speaking up- we fully support and stand by them. We do believe our actions showed our support- by the statement we put out (albeit a bit slow), the event we set up, with your help, as well as engaging and facilitating connections to help the survivors who reached out to us. However, we do acknowledge that in all these actions there were some mistakes made from which we are taking our learnings from.

Essentially as I mentioned, SWIFT is an organization made up of volunteers, the majority of whose backgrounds are in film & television. If I’m absolutely transparent it varies between 5-7 of the same women depending who’s not on a project or burnt out. None of us in the team have any experience with trauma counseling or legal advising re: sexual crimes. As such we always intended to be a place people could reach out to and be connected with organizations who are trained and qualified to deal in this sensitive area- ie LHR, Lifeline, POWA partnerships.

We must acknowledge that in our haste to protect and help the victims who spoke up, we began engaging directly with them when untrained and this is potentially more damaging- but in all honesty Rosie when there is someone who has been brave enough to step up and contact you it’s difficult to tell them the technicalities such as – LHR hasn’t responded to our emails yet so please wait till they do -for example. Natural instinct is to jump in and help a fellow womxn/human.

That said we are vigorously working to put in place all our partnerships so everyone who comes forward can be helped by trained professionals. Simultaneously we are working on our policy document which will outline exactly what to expect from SWIFT in future situations so that we don’t experience a crisis of expectation, as we discussed.

In terms of a safe space being violated – this is something we are deeply sorrowful about as we have worked tirelessly over the last two years to create a safety net precisely for survivors. On this issue I couldn’t correctly articulate how the safe space was violated to the rest of the board. If you could kindly expand on how we ensure that a safe space that we create remains safe even after the event- so in future this doesn’t happen.

The board has made a decision that SWIFT will focus on the programmes we have developed around policy and strategies that structurally change the industry to make it better for womxn rather than create the expectation that we can help individual womxn through their crisis – we cannot deliver on this. We will be concentrating our efforts on the Pledge Campaign, the Code of Conduct we have developed being as widely adopted, lobbying government around these issues in partnership with CALS and SAGA as well as the Safety Officer Campaign going forward. We believe this is a critical intervention and one we can work on.

In addition to this we wil,​l continue to create partnerships and relationships with other organizations that can assist so that we can act as a referral – in terms of connecting these women to other resources that may be able to help them.

Finally,​ I really do appreciate you saying that we must clarify what exactly SWIFT offers so that all the good work we have done over the last two years does not get sidelined. We unequivocally support and stand with the victims and will continue to do so via statements and any other measures we can but we do respect your need to step back in this particular case. I’m so glad that we can work together going forward after this case is finalized and that the relationship is not lost as we value your knowledge and input and you as a person so much.

This battle has just begun and we will need each other to truly put an end to all the violence. We are so happy to have you in our corner.

Zoe Ramushu (On Behalf of the SWIFT Board)

Chiriseri Studios
********************************************************************************

My response:
On Thu, 23 Aug 2018 at 09:18, Rosie Motene wrote:

Greetings,

Thank you for the email.

I believe in transparency so I will be honest from the start. It was lovely seeing you the other day on the ​set of Daily Theta​, but I have to say I was rather surprised when you apologised for not responding to my mail. I was surprised as I had never addressed you as I was not aware that you are the spokes person. I had sent all of my emails to Aliki, Natalie, ​and Sara. I thank you for this mail and apology.

As per our conversation, my areas of concern were as follows:

1. Swift approach to the Khalo Matabane case, thank you have addressed it. I will not discuss this​ further as it is now a legal matter and I will only confide in my counsellor and lawyer.

2. Swift transparency with Carolyn Carew- I see you have not addressed this at all. At the meeting that SWIFT called, which was supposed to be a safe space for women. Carolyn opened up about her anxiety around the issue. I really felt her pain but was taken aback ​at the testimony. In our meeting at the Daily Thetaha studio, you even agreed that you were surprised by it and was not aware that she was going to speak. With that said, there was a lot of crucial information that had not been shared in her testimony. I say testimony as we were in a sacred space, created by SWIFT. She did not share that Khalo I was not an employee but actually a 33% shareholder​ in her company, she did not mention that her testimony was,​ in fact,​a statement and that it would be made public. These are also areas which were not shared with those present.
A few weeks back Ingeborg Lichtenberg included me in an email sent to Sara, addressing these iss​ues and I also responded stating that yes Carolyn spoke up about distancing her self but since it was in a safe space, it was not my permission or right to share the information. I have attached a scene grab of the email. I did not get a response on most of those facts and areas of concern. Since it was one of my major issues in our personal conversation and you have evaded it in this mail, sends major warning signs to me.

3. Regarding your set up as an organization​, as I said in original chat, perhaps you should position yourself as an organisation that can help and promote women in film, since you do not have the capacity to help women on other areas. Granted you have the contact with Lifeline and the lawyers but on request about the lawyers, I was told that you were working on the issue and waiting to get a collective group of survivors so we could have a united front. I said that I would try with a another lawyer. Since I did not get feedback from you, I have aligned with another lawyer, whom I will keep confidential, until the case goes to court. The reason for this is that one of my sources confided in me that she was aware of my plans, which means somebody on that email shared the information.

A few weeks back and as per the email sent to the other ladies, I shared that myself and Inge were going to open a case and we wanted support from SWIFT, the response was that the decision would have to come from the board. I respected that but did not receive any more feedback.

With the volunteers and people using their own time for the organisorganization​ally understand that. My activism does not bring in cash and is packaged with a lot of long hours, anxiety and trauma. It is something that not everyone can do and so do not feel bad if you cannot but my suggestion is do not pretend to do so. The activism space is a very scared and respected space. I gave off my time freely to SWIFT as I believed there was transparency, I will continue to do so with organisations that do so. The fact remains that at the second meeting that was held at Saras house, I spoke of the fact that I had called out IPO and I was waiting on a response. Once again, I was naive in believing that I was in a trusted space. Carolyn did not mention at all that she was in fact chairperson and that she would orchestrated the IPO response. I have attached that email proof.

On a personal note, I suggest that if any of your members have covered up on any sexual harassment allegations that occurred on their sets, they should come forward and acknowledge their wrongdoing​ and make an apology. I say this as there is a survivor who has claimed this and has proof, should this information go public, it could have negative implications for your brand. As I have been personally counseling​ survivors, at this point they are focusing on their healing, which I strongly advised the,. Let it be know there are many damaged souls out there, some who have tried to take their lives.

3. In response to how to engage with survivors, I respect your reply and once again as per our conversation, perhaps change your policy and let women know that you do not actually have the capacity, knowledge, ​and logistics to help women in those situations.
From POWA point of view. We had our quarterly meeting last Saturday and I presented my facts to the board and they stand with me and unfortunately we will not align ourselves with you, due to the lack of transparency and breach in safe​ space.
In response to your comment regarding safe spaces:
On this issue​,​​ I couldn’t correctly articulate how the safe space was violated to the rest of the board. If you could kindly expand on how we ensure that a safe space that we create remains safe even after the event- so in future this doesn’t happen.
As we discussed, I said that Carolyn’s testimony was never told to us that it would be shared as a press statement. This violates the aim of the safe meeting, which you had put on the invite. At the bottom of the invite it was written, NO press or recordings. That means that the information shared there would remain confidential.

In conclusion, I stand with my intention to distance myself from the organization​​n and as I stated, POWA will not be aligned either. I know that in our conversation I said that possibly in the future we could work together, unfortunately since you have managed to sideline my main concerns I can honestly say you do NOT have me in your corner. I will continue to do work with SAGA and I am sure our paths will cross but please let it be known​ that you can no longer use my name image or brand in any of your discussions, marketing etc.

In solidarity,​ I stand!!!
********************************************************************************
​​​​​
I still waited for the information​ to be shared but it was not. I then saw that SWIFT posted an additional post on Sexual HHarassment​but had not included any information on support from an NGO.

So what are my issues?

1. As Sara and Zoe have continuously stated that they are a ​bunch​ of filmmakers who are volunteering their time, they are not activists. This is despite the fact that Zoe accepted the title of an activist​t at the Joburg film festival panel discussion. I respect them as filmmakers and salute them for their accoldaes but they need to acknowledg that the sensitivity and sanctity of working with surviors are​ important and they need to take a stance on that. After all,​ when I originally​ came on board I volunteered​ my resources, shared our strategy​, used my own account to travel​ back and forth between meetings and interviews for them. As an activist,​ these are normal actions that we do plus we have to endure the intimidation​ and security aspects attached to the work that we do. It is not a glamorous​ job and often shows no immediate rewards but requires passion, commitment, ​and loyalty. I gave my ideas of raining finnace to host workshops, as that seemed to be the major concern.

2. In an interview​ on radio​ 702 with Joanne Joseph on Friday 30 November, Zoe said that she had engaged POWA through me, that is a lie as I had contacted​ Sara initially​​. They said that they have a connection​ with Lifeline, this is for one counselling session. Survisovrs of rape need​ more that​ one telephonic conversation.
The interview can be heard here:
http://www.702.co.za/articles/329219/actress-accuses-women-s-org-of-protecting-alleged-sexual-predators

3. I was told that I would have access to legal​ help and on two occasions, Sara informed me that they were​ getting a team together, that never transpired. The only time we s survivors received advice was when their rep said we should not talk publicly​ about our trauma. Due to the urgency of the matter, which is an important​ factor within the activism space, I then made use of my personal​ legal team. For the record the same person​ contacted​ one of the other survivors and advised not to report the case, there was no strategy​ attached to her comments. The survivor contacted me as she did not feel comfortable with the call.

4. I believe that SWIFT has​ excelled in the​ skills development and workshop aspect and we salute them for that. In terms of the activism​ space, they need assistance​ yet their argument is that they​​ are just filmmakers​. So as filmmakers​ do what you know​ best and do not try and undermine our questions and pain. This was mentioned a number of times at the acting indaba, which was held on 28 November in Johannesburg. In my talk at the same event, I pointed out to Sara that they had failed us as survivors​ ​and​ they needed to do what​ was right. The next day on the radio interview​, Zoe claimed​ that it was resolved. How was it resolved? At the same Indaba they bragged how they had traveled​ around the world sharing the​ work that they have done, this is fantastic​ as it has given them visibility but I​​ also see it as window dressing and​ dangerous as they have not begun to handle the sensitive​ and pressing issues that they claim to​ care about.

A way forward:
Continue to succeed in addressing the practical​ issues of the industry. Share their strategy​​ of how to deal with members​ who are involved and implicated​ ​in sexual​ harassment​ or rape cases. Please,​ could you stop claiming​ to be activists​ when it suits​ you then when called out call yourselves filmmakers who are volunteering​​g services?​ Choose your roles​ and battles effectively.

As I​ stated we all respect​ your accolades​ as filmmakers​ and perhaps stick to that and leave the activism to organizations​​s​​ that can effectively handle cases of rape, sexual harassment​, ​and abuse.
At the Joburg film festival panel, Gail Smith asked pertinent​​ questions about the particular​ case and addressed the concern around calling yourselves, ​activists. She also made an offer to assist​ you. I strongly​ suggest you take up that support as you cannot continue to fail survivors.

For assistance​ with abuse, shelter or counseling​ contact POWA
http://www.powa.co.za

Aluta Continua!!!

​​ ​​​​​​