Bonang Matheba speaks up amid agency fight saga: 'They don't own you'
“Remember that an 'agency' enables you and your business and represents your interests. They 'do not own you' and 'you do not work for them'.”
Update: This article has been updated to reflect CSA's response.
After having brought the whole country to standstill last week, A-list celebrity Bonang Matheba, has decided to advise young people looking to thrive in the entertainment industry on how to deal with agencies, using her recent failed relationship with CSA Global agency to tell what “red flags” to look out for.
This after Bonang brought the whole country to a standstill on Wednesday when she decided to let her fans into her fight with her former agency and celebrity management group Celebrity Services Africa (CSA).
In an exclusive interview with TshisaLIVE via email, Bonang had some wisdom earned from the lessons she's learnt the hard way about dealing with agencies. The media personality explained that proper checks and balances are necessary.
“Creatives and talent and business start-ups and young people entering entertainment, media and those entering business must acquire knowledge and have solid checks and balances when dealing with agencies that represent you and your brand. Get every proposal or agreement checked by lawyers. Hire your own independent lawyers and other experts — so that you do not get the agency to 'help' you with reviewing business proposals. This is critical. It was key for me to identify some issues,” she shared.
Bonang said it was critical for creatives to “reduce every action and decision between yourself and the agency and business partners in writing” and insist that no decision be made without your knowledge.
The Sunday Times exclusively revealed that they believe the fight between Bonang and CSA is over her sparkling wine brand, The House of BNG, which her camp claims she was muscled out of by her former agency.
Talking to TshisaLIVE, Bonang warned creatives against allowing their agencies too much leeway once they are hired and some of the red flags to look out for.
“Remember that an 'agency' enables you and your business and represents your interests. They 'do not own you' and 'you do not work for them'. Guard against their attitude or posture or intentions of superiority and disrespect and condescending stances. Act swiftly to correct that.
“Make sure that agency bosses don't want to compete with you in public spaces for appearances and also that agency does not insert themselves in your business beyond the agency agreement which is about them acting in your interest as their client. You are a brand and/or a business and you must be respected. An agency must deal with you as a business,” she said.
Bonang also advised creatives to know when to cut their ties with an agency and how to go about it with grace and tact, while protecting yourself on the legal front.
“Also know when to part ways with the agency and do not waste time, do that while securing and maintaining key relationships and do not break your brand or business integrity. Tell your business associates (fans, supporters, business associates) the truth of what transpired and why acting that way (why you are terminating a service provider) without jeopardising your legal agreement with an agency. Remain true to yourself and maintain your integrity.”
CSA Global hit back to media personality Bonang's accusations, dismissing her allegations as without merit and accusing her or telling half-truths about the situation.
In a statement sent to TshisaLIVE, CSA reiterated their earlier statement with regards to the matter.
"Per our statement issued on Tuesday, Ms Matheba is currently in breach of multiple contracts with various clients as she has been absent to these brands and indeed her own for the past six months. The matter is currently with our legal team, who are awaiting a response to various letters sent to Ms Matheba lawyer."
They added, "We are not in the business of destroying brands, but rather in the business of building them. However, we do believe in the merits of contracts and believe agreed-upon terms should be respected and honoured.
We do hope an amicable solution can be found, where the value that has been created is not undermined or discredited. Nonetheless, we are sad that there has been a parting of the ways. We look back with fond memories of the achievements we made together and wish Bonang every success."