Florence Masebe on the acting industry: We are worse than 15/20 years ago

20 December 2019 - 06:00
By Kyle Zeeman
Veteran actress Florence Masebe says the industry has changed a lot.
Image: Via Florence Masebe Instagram Veteran actress Florence Masebe says the industry has changed a lot.

Veteran actress Florence Masebe says that SA actors are treated with less respect than they were a decade ago.

2019 has seen several celebs speak out about the alleged mistreatment of actors in the industry.

In October actress Vatiswa Ndara penned an open letter to arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa on the alleged exploitation of actors in the South African entertainment industry.

In her letter she highlighted issues including actors not being allowed to work for other projects while under contract, not being compensated for work-related activities, such as wardrobe fittings, make-up, public relations and media interviews; and limitless calls which could see her them on set from Monday to Saturday for up to 12 hours a day with no additional compensation.

Speaking to TshisaLIVE, Florence Masebe said conditions have got worse in the industry.

“We treat SA actors worse than what we treated them 15/20 years ago,” she said.

She explained that a lot of this comes from budget cuts, which also led to actors becoming desperate for any kind of work.

“The exploitation keeps coming. The industry takes advantage of the desperation of actors for work and I can imagine that there are actors who take what they are given because they are desperate.

“If the industry is not afraid to ill-treat its elite, I shudder to think what the small guy gets treated like.”

Florence is one of the biggest advocates for the Performers' Protection Amendment Bill, which is currently sitting before President Ramaphosa to be signed into law. The bill will allow for actors who were working to receive residual income in the form of royalties for work they previously done.

“We have no basic standards in this industry. We have no standard on what actors can expect on set, even if it is a chair while shooting or even a dressing room. A few years ago we would sit under the trees in between takes, there was no green room.

“On another project we found a space in a tent for wardrobe and put down gowns to sit on. Ten years ago we still had dressing rooms.”