Ferguson Films accused of exploiting talent following Vatiswa Ndara’s open letter

Ferguson Films accused of exploiting talent following Vatiswa Ndara’s open letter

Ferguson Films accused of exploiting talent following Vatiswa Ndara’s open letter

Social media is still reeling after veteran actress, Vatiswa Ndara’s open letter started circulating, detailing how local talent is often exploited by production houses and broadcasters who allegedly underpay them.
On Monday, 7 October 2019, Ferguson Films – which is co-owned by television power couple, Connie and Shona Ferguson – was at the centre of social media lambasting production houses and broadcasters for underpaying talent. This comes after Vatiswa Ndara called out the production house for wanting to underpay her for shooting what was going to be the third season of the popular drama series, Igazi.

In the open letter she shared on social media, addressing the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, the actress revealed that the production house had offered to pay her R110 000 before tax for five weeks of production. This, she later explained in an interview, would amount to R82 500 after tax, meaning she was getting an estimated R6 350 per episode for the 13-part series. Moreover, she highlighted that whenever there’s a discussion about the talents’ rate, producers often say “there is no money”; however, looking through their social media pages, their lifestyles tell a different story.

After posting the open letter, many social media users took to Twitter to lambast the production house. One social media user said, “I don’t have any problem with the Fergusons or any black child to live anyhow they so wish and can afford to. I just don’t want them to exploit their own. Shona and Connie can go live in heaven… but please don’t exploit others while at it.”

Many social media users joined in on the conversation, including acclaimed actress, Florence Mosebe, who said, “We need more voices [that have had enough] to call out the mess in the South African television industry. Thank you Vatiswa Ndara for your bravery. We have to stand with you. All of us.” The Queen actress, Rami Chuene, supported Vatiswa under the currently trending hashtag #IStandWithVatiswa.

Many likened Vatiswa’s open letter to a thread Rami had created in September 2019 under the hashtag #SHOWMUSTGOON, highlighting the unfair treatment and conditions that South African actors and crew have to work under.

Watch a snippet of Vatiswa Ndara’s Newzroom Afrika interview below.

Spotlight on Arts And Culture. Are South African entertainers short changed?

Award-winning actress Vatiswa Ndara (@theVati_Can) who penned an open letter to the Minister of sports, Arts and Culture to voice her concern on the issue joined us in studio.#NewzAtPrime #Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/jZSseO9YUA