Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Renowned actor and director Sello Maake Ka Ncube joins hunger protest

Johannesburg, 6 Oct 2009

Renowned actor and director Sello Maake ka Ncube announced at midday today at Atlas Studios in Milpark that he has stopped eating in support of the aims of the Hunger Protest to show up the SABC's lack of transparency, ethics, respect, and other values.

He takes over for Zamambo Tshabalala, a 24 year old industry novice who completed 30 days without food today as her stand for her and her generations' future. Before drinking the customary glass of diliuted apple juice to break her fast, Tshabalala spoke in detail about her experience on the protest and why she took on the action.

“I grew up in Soweto,” she said. “We didn't have DSTV. I am used to the SABC as the place where I and my people go to get local shows. Now there's mostly only international shows, and reruns. I see no future for myself on our television.” A member of the ANC Youth League, Tshabalala added: “The youth programs have stopped engaging the youth on topics we care about. They are no longer relevant.”

Sello Maake ka Ncube is one of the best known actors in South Africa, perhaps the first great SA black soap star, due to his groundbreaking role as Archie Moroka on Generations, from 1993-2002. He has performed extensively in the United States, Britain, Canada and Europe. After starring in the title role of Mufasa in The Lion King in London’s West End, Sello also played the title role in Othello opposite Antony Sher for Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company. He returned to South Africa in 2007 to reprise the role of Mufasa in the South African production and currently plays the lead in the e-TV soapie Scandal!

“I am not someone who is afraid to stand up for something,” Maake said at the conference. “I stood up years ago for black scriptwiters in the industry. Many years later, black culture, culture for the people, continues to be marginzlied. In a very twisted way, I find that African culture was more protected or had more of a voice under Apartheid than it does now. We have a black government – yet our culture is not elevated. Our culture needs a strong voice, but the institutions are corrupt. You go to Germany, you can see a play or a show in German. You come to SA and it's a different story. Our culture is being abused.”

It is not only the SABC. The SABC is a symptom of what is happening in the country,” Maake added, saying he would be going 30 days as well, and would “I'm so inspired by this little girl,” he said of Zama. “She actually for me, symbolizes my own failure as a practitioner in the industry who has not made enough of a difference for her.”

For her own part, Zama is thankful for her role in the protest. “This hunger protest has given me a strength to see things in other ways. If you want something, push for it. If you see something wrong, speak about it, rather than watching at home and doing nothing about it.”

Tshabalala said her conscience kept her from cheating and eating, even when she had to cook for her family. Maake picked up on that and added. “Conscience. Is that something the government has? When they are squandering money – do they have a conscience? A 24 yr old girl knows how to listen to her conscience when there is food there to grab and nobody is looking. And that is only for her to eat her own share. They want to eat their share, our share, everyone's share. Conscience is dead, man! It's sad. Sad.”

A more in depth update, including the full text of Sello Maake ka Ncube's statement, will be released by tomorrow morning.