ferguson films igazi season 3

Photo: Twitter / Shona Ferguson

iGazi actress publishes exposè on Ferguson Films, calls them slave masters

Ndara confirmed that she would not be portraying NomaRussia in the third season of iGazi.

ferguson films igazi season 3

Photo: Twitter / Shona Ferguson

Some may love her as NomaRussia on the popular soapie, iGazi, but Vatiswa Ndara’s life behind the camera is nothing like the glits and glam fans expect.

The actress recently caused a stir on social media when she published an open letter, addressed to Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, calling for more attention to be paid to the plight of actors in the industry.

iGazi actress slams Ferguson Films for slavery contracts

The iGazi actress dropped a spoiler alert on the third season of the show and revealed that her character, NomaRussia, would not be portrayed by her.

This, she explained in her open letter, was due to the final offer made by Ferguson Films on the remuneration structure of her contract.

“Ferguson Films is officially starting iGazi 3 and we would like to offer Vatiswa a global contract for iGazi 3 at R110 000 (before tax) for the duration of the shoot (five weeks). No limit to calls, first call exclusive to us.

“We are looking at shooting from 8 October to 9 November. She will also need to allocate a day for a wardrobe fitting and make-up tests in the pre-week sometime between 16 September and 22 September, but otherwise, we only have her during the five shooting weeks,” was the offer she received from the production company owned by Connie and Shona Ferguson.

Ndara explained that while R110 000 for a five-week shoot appears to be a lot, there were other things to consider, such as:

  • this amount has yet to be taxed;
  • there is no guarantee of residuals;
  • she is not able to seek further employment until this contract is concluded;
  • she will not be compensated for time taken out of work-related activities such as wardrobe fittings, make-up and public relations/media interviews; and
  • there is no limit to the hours she could work in a single day.

“Minister, my understanding is that both [the] channel and the production house, on the other hand, will continue to reap the financial benefits of the show — they will continue raking in insurmountable figures, long after I have been paid and while I am not even guaranteed a job after that five weeks.

“Perhaps I lack the financial savvy to manage this R82 500 over the next two/three years of possible unemployment. Kindly advise, Minister. Some may call this daylight robbery, others may even be more accurate by calling it slavery,” she wrote.

The gist of Ndara’s open letter to Mthethwa

Ndara made it clear that she risked the possibility of being blacklisted from the industry in shedding light on the contracts actors receive in this country.

However, her purpose was bigger than her plight. She challenged Mthethwa to take a step forward and:

  • establish an independent central regulatory body to monitor the industry;
  • create codes of conduct related to health, safety and well-being of all in the industry;
  • revise the financial obligations, tax contributions and percentage fees from agents; and
  • investigate the awarding of contracts to establish the legitimacy of financial remuneration of productions with the intent of back payments for actors.

Ndara challenged Mthethwa to lead the transformation of the industry. In her view, it “has to happen now for future generations”.