Florence Masebe ignites conversation about GBV in the arts industry

'There is so much that we need to change. Starting with making enough noise until the broadcasters stop giving work to the Weinsteins and Cosbys of our industry'

03 December 2020 - 06:00 By Masego Seemela
Veteran actress Florence Masebe opens the discussion around GBV.
Veteran actress Florence Masebe opens the discussion around GBV.
Image: Via Florence Masebe Instagram

With the increasing rate of femicide in the country, veteran actress Florence Masebe is tackling the issues surrounding gender-based violence in the SA entertainment industry. 

She took to Twitter and opened up the discussion, using an organisation called Youth Lab's handle, where she spoke about violence against women in the industry and the fight to keep women and girls safe on set.

The actress made some strong points that ignited serious conversation on the TL.

“We need to make enough noise until producers and channels stop rewarding abusive men with leading roles and billboards,” was the leading message from the actress during her hour-long discussion.

She explained that she accepted the invitation by Youth Lab to make use of its platform because the “GBV in the arts” conversation hugely affects young artists.

“They have me tweeting on a #YouthLab platform. Am I youth? Far from it. I'm old enough to be called mother and perhaps even grandmother by some of you here. So, why am I here? You might be wondering. The answer is simple. To start a conversation that affects the young often.”

Florence added that with the #16DaysOfActivism2020 being at hand she wanted South Africans to think about the various forms of violence against women that practitioners in the arts suffer.

“Mostly in silence, because there doesn't seem to be a reliable system for recourse should they decide to speak up.”

The actress stated that she was deliberately referring to practitioners in the arts because often when people speak of the arts they make the mistake of assuming that it is only about the famous faces and voices.

She added the reasons why she was starting this conversation.

“When I was asked to do this I felt a little sad, wondering if all the talking every year at this time and others is ever going to bring us to a place where, in any industry, [mine included] women would not have to fear the very real daily possibility of violence against them.”

She then posed a question whether SA was anywhere near the day when men in power would finally be brought to account for violating many young women in the name of helping them build a career.

With a career spanning more than two decades, Florence stated she had been in the industry long enough to see sexual predators receiving lifetime achievement awards.

“I am still here watching the young men who followed in their footsteps sticking to that Weinstein script without consequence. It seems acceptable and OK. Is it?”

Florence then shared a parting message, saying that artists must never tire of making their voices heard.

“There is so much that we need to change. Starting with making enough noise until the broadcasters stop giving work to the Weinsteins and Cosbys of our industry. Let's make enough noise until producers and channels stop rewarding abusive men with leading roles and billboards.”

Read the rest of her thought-provoking tweets below:


X