david james, brenda ngxoli

David James has apologised for using the K-word on co-star Brenda Ngxoli.
Images via contractors.org.za/ X: @brendangxoli

‘Mutual banter’: Actor David James apologises over K-word claim

Actor David James has addressed Brenda Ngxoli’s claims he called her the K-word during the 2017 production of an Apartheid-era film.

david james, brenda ngxoli

David James has apologised for using the K-word on co-star Brenda Ngxoli.
Images via contractors.org.za/ X: @brendangxoli

Actor David James has issued an apology for using the K-word on his co-star Brenda Ngxoli on a film set back in 2017.

In an exclusive with The South African, the screen and theatre star claims the comment was initially made as “mutual banter.”

Earlier this week, Brenda accused David of making the racial slur during production of Apartheid-era film Sew the Winter to My Skin.

She also alleges that her remuneration for the film was “delayed” after she complained about the incident.


In a statement to The South African via his agent Carlynn de Waal-Smit, David James apologised for using the racial slur on Brenda Ngxoli.

The full statement reads as follows:

“I met Brenda Ngxoli for the first time in 2017 on a feature film production. Even before meeting her, I was familiar with her work. I have always had the greatest respect and admiration for her as an award-winning professional actress.

“Travelling back from set one night, we were engaged in a discussion in the cast vehicle about the political era and setting of the script, our respective characters, and together, we reflected on racial epithets. 

“The next morning, there was mutual banter between Ms Ngxoli and me, both of us using some of these pejorative phrases (which included the K word) in mutual understanding of our facetiousness.  

 David James claims a meeting was then called to address the complaints by Brenda Ngxoli.

He continued: “The meeting included the producer, director, assistant director, Ms Ngxoli and myself. After a comprehensive discussion surrounding the specific events I related above, I realised that my conduct was seen as being offensive and inappropriate.

“I immediately and unreservedly apologised to Ms Ngxoli and the producers. After the discussion, Ms Ngxoli and I shook hands, and I apologised once again for the hurt that she had felt. I have a comprehensive record of the notes taken at this meeting. I have no doubt Ms Ngxoli also has copies.

David stated that after the apology, he believed that he and Brenda had parted ways on “amicable terms.”

He continued: “I have not had any contact with Ms Ngxoli since then.

“I deeply regret any hurt that Ms Ngxoli felt. I am sorry that this regrettable incident still haunts her seven years later. I state unequivocally that I invite any further investigation of this incident by any competent authority, including the Human Rights Commission. 

“I would support every effort to ventilate this matter again thoroughly.”


In posts on Instagram and X, Brenda Ngxoli detailed how she was allegedly racially abused by her film co-star, David James.

The incident reportedly occurred on set during the filming of the 2018 movie Sew the Winter to My Skin.

She shared: “When shooting this film, I was called K**ir meit by a fellow white actor….David James is his name.”

Defending her decision to speak out many later, she added: “I still remember. I stood alone then as I cried on set.

“Even today, I’m still standing for my truth”.

david james, brenda ngxoli
Actor David James is accused of making a racial slur against his co-star Brenda Ngxoli. Images via Contractors.org.za/Rhythm City


In an interview with Anele Mdoda on the SABC 3 talk show Real Talk with Anele, Brenda Ngxoli stated that she had experienced racism during film production.

Although she did not mention the actor’s name or the movie, she said: “I got called k**fir maid. I got called k**fir b**ch.” 

During the episode, Brenda also alleged that an unnamed actor sexually assaulted her during her career.

She said: “In a space whereby I feel most at home, I got fondled by a fellow actor. They (the person) rubbed on my thighs during a take. “

She continued: “When we were doing another take, this particular actor told me that when he looked at my feet, he gets horny.  And the funny thing is that I laughed. Nobody knows how to react to these things, so I laughed, I giggled, and I walked away.”