The #MeToo movement continues to call for accountability from those who abuse power in Hollywood, with the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K being shunned by the industry after sexual assault accusations. It did not take long for the South African entertainment industry to break its silence by calling out Khalo Matabane. He is an award-winning director and filmmaker and some of his work includes the highly acclaimed SABC 1 miniseries When We Were Black and the 2014 documentary Nelson Mandela: The myth and me.
Twitter user, @iamzathemum, posted on twitter on 25 October 2017 that the filmmaker raped her during the 2010 FIFA World Cup while she was working at a hotel in Cape Town. Since then, four women from the entertainment industry, namely, Rosie Motene, Palesa Letlaka, Ingeborg Lichtenberg and Nico Athene, came out to support these allegations.
Rosie Motene, who is known for her roles in Generations and Zabalaza, has described meetings with the filmmaker as comfortable until that changed in Durban 2012. Motene told City Press, “I went to his hotel room to watch inserts on his documentary. He sat on the bed and asked if I wanted to sit with him. The next day he said to me, ‘Oh you’re such a c*** teaser’.”
Palesa Letlaka wrote an open letter to Matabane which detailed a meeting they had five years ago in which she had been subjected to groping and sexual harassment. This was followed by “late night and sexually explicit texts” from Matabane. She repeatedly asked him to stop disrespecting her and stopped taking his calls.
Filmmaker Ingeborg Lichtenberg, gives her account dating back to a meeting ten years ago at Ikhaya Lodge in Cape Town. Lichtenberg told City Press, “As soon as we had greeted [and] given each other friendly hugs, he tried to kiss me, but with an open mouth, basically trying to stick his tongue in my mouth. I immediately pulled away.” She later stated he called her the next day to apologize and blamed his behavior on the medication he was taking at the time.
The final woman to break the silence is Cape Town artist, Nico Athene. While working with Matabane, she claims that Matabane made sexual advances towards her during a meeting.
Although no charges have been filed, Matabane has since denied all allegations telling the Sowetan newspaper that what haunts him most are the false allegations against him. He has since threatened to take legal action against his accusers.
Image: Sally Hartzenberg