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This Award-Winning Actress is Calling Out South Africa's Exploitative Film Industry

Vatiswa Ndara has made a move that may end her career to expose the exploitation in the country's film industry.

Vatiswa Ndara is a South African actress with whom most South Africans are undoubtedly familiar. She has starred in local television productions including the beloved soap opera Generations as well as other popular shows such as Tsha Tsha, Gaz'lam, Home Affairs and Society. She's also racked up a number of awards during her career including the Golden Horn Award for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama Series. However, the accomplished actress recently penned a heartfelt letter to the country's Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, where she talks about her exploitation as an actress and that of others in the film industry. The letter has caused an uproar on social media.


Ndara, who is currently one of the lead roles in the successful local drama series iGazi, has opened up about the less-than-glamorous aspects of her job. She speaks about being paid far below what would be expected for one of the country's top-tier actresses. She also shares how iGazi's production house, Ferguson Films, has reportedly tied her down to unfair working conditions without the appropriate compensation. Read her letter here.

Many South Africans have expressed their shock and dismay that seemingly successful actors and actresses are being grossly exploited behind the scenes. Fellow actresses Florence Masebe and Rami Chuene have shown Ndara their support following her letter, with Chuene having shared a Twitter thread detailing her many challenges as an actress but how the #ShowMustGoOn. In light of Ndara's revelations, many have also questioned how other far less accomplished performers are then being treated.

While some have put Ferguson Films (which produces not only iGazi but also The Queen, The Throne and The Imposter) on blast, others have defended the production house and accused Ndara of being "ungrateful" at a time where many South Africans are unemployed and would benefit greatly from the little she feels she's being paid.

The conversation has once again come back to the issue of protecting the rights of performers. Since last year, numerous South African performers have been campaigning to have the Performers Protection Amendment Bill adopted by Parliament. South African performers have talked about how most of them don't have the rights to their own images and their distribution as well as how they don't receive any royalties from production houses or broadcasters for the repeat airing of their shows.

Shooting of the third season of iGazi has stopped with Connie and Shona Ferguson of Ferguson Films having claimed to be in the process of taking legal action against Ndara.

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Left: Photo by Bennett Raglin/ NAACP LDF for Getty Images, Right: Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Lupita Nyong'o and Mati Diop Win at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Lupita Nyong'o took home 'Best Lead Actress' for her role in 'Us' while Mati Diop's 'Atlantics' won 'Best First Film'.

Yesterday, the New York Film Critics Circle announced its full list of this year's winners. According to Deadline, Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong'o took home the "Best Lead Actress" award for her phenomenal role in the Jordan Peele horror film Us while Senegalese-French filmmaker Mati Diop's Atlantics won in the "Best First Film" category.

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Interview
JimmyWiz. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Interview: JimmyWiz Quietly Released One of the Strongest South African Hip-Hop Albums of the Year

We chat to South African rapper JimmyWiz about his debut album, Accordin' to Jim.

JimmyWiz channeled his life story into his biographical debut record, Accordin' to Jim. At just nine songs, the album is a self-portrait of the artist as he shares the stories that contributed to how he makes sense of the world. Even the accompanying music reveals an aspect of Jimmy's childhood.

In his chat to OkayAfrica below, the MC from the East Rand of Joburg, explains that sonically, Accordin' To Jim was influenced by the music he grew up with. The project is built on smooth jazz samples and compositions by SP Dubb, a prominent producer in the East Rand and the rest of the country.

JimmyWiz is part of a huge network of South African lyricists who may not be on everyone's radar, but have built solid niche fanbases and are striving in their own way and own terms. JimmyWiz just happened to get a boost that a very few young up-and-coming rappers are afforded.

In 2015, the rapper appeared on the reality show The Hustle on TV channel Vuzu. His class included the likes of Bigstar Johnson and ShabZi Madallion, the latter who is still a close friend and frequent collaborator of Jimmy's. JimmyWiz has stuck to his path—instead of jumping on the trap bandwagon, he has always shown a liking for production that leans towards traditional East Coast hip-hop, multi-syllable rhyme schemes and rich lyricism.

In the interview below, JimmyWiz tells OkayAfrica about his take on popularity waves, witnessing gender-based abuse in his household as a child, his plans for the future and many other topics.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Cardi B Teases New Remix of Davido's 'Fall'

Looks like the Nigerian star's massive hit is getting yet another re-up.

Cardi B has teased her apparent upcoming remix of Davido's "Fall."

Posting from a private jet, as she was on her way to New York before heading to West Africa, Cardi B shared a video of herself rapping and dancing along to the unreleased remix.

From the sounds of it, Cardi's "Fall" remix will feature a brand new verse from the New York rapper.

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Art
Image courtesy of Trap Bob.

Trap Bob Is the 'Proud Habesha' Illustrator Creating Colorful Campaigns for the Digital Age

The DMV-based artist speaks with OkayAfrica about the themes in her work, collaborating with major brands, and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her work.

DMV-based visual artist Tenbeete Solomon also known as Trap Bob is a buzzing illustrator using her knack for colorful animation to convey both the "humor and struggle of everyday life."

The artist, who is also the Creative Director of the creative agency GIRLAAA has been the visual force behind several major online movements. Her works have appeared in campaigns for Giphy, Girls Who Code, Missy Elliott, Elizabeth Warren, Apple, Refinery 29 and Pabst Blue Ribbon (her design was one of the winners of the beer company's annual art can contest and is currently being displayed on millions of cans nationwide). With each striking illustration, the artist brings her skillful use of color and storytelling to the forefront.

Her catalog also includes fun, exuberant graphics that depict celebrities and important moments in Black popular culture. Her "Girls In Power" pays homage to iconic women of color in a range of industries with illustrated portraits. It includes festive portraits of Beyoncé, Oprah, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama to name a few.

Trap Bob is currently embarking on an art tour throughout December, which sees her unveiling murals and recent works for Pabst Blue Ribbon in her hometown of DC and during Art Basel in Miami. You can see her tour dates here.

We caught up with the illustrator via email, to learn more about the themes in her work and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her illustrations. Read it below and see more of Trap Bob's works underneath.

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