LISTEN | Winnie & Rethabile Khumalo talk about ‘rife’ competitiveness among female stars

21 December 2021 - 07:00
By Chrizelda Kekana
Mother and daughter Winnie and Rethabile Khumalo got candid about the entertainment industry as they know it.
Image: Instagram/Winnkay Music Mother and daughter Winnie and Rethabile Khumalo got candid about the entertainment industry as they know it.

This year TshisaLIVE had some “must-have” conversations with women in the industry about issues that affect them. Mother and daughter entertainers Winnie and Rethabile Khumalo got candid about the entertainment industry as they know it, and spoke about matters close to their hearts.

Women have gone the extra mile in SA and the world to prove women can work together and create magic, despite naysayers and the notion that women “hate” each other.

While there are notable projects and notable partnerships between female artists, the spirit of competitiveness continues to reign in the SA entertainment industry, something Winnie is adamant continues to hold the industry back.

Despite having watched women bring each other down during her 20-year career, Winnie is hopeful this generation of artists can turn things around.

Rethabile, however, seems to think that train has left and will never return.

Listen to the full conversation here:

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Winnie and Rethabile said while they entered the industry in different eras, one thing remains the same: lack of unity among female entertainers.

In a conversation with TshisaLIVE, Winnie got emotional as she spoke of the hopelessness she sometimes feels as an entertainer in SA. She said the lack of support from government, the lack of structure or innovation within institutions established to help artists, the lack of unity among women and the brokenness of black society gave her sleepless nights.

Her daughter and Umlilo hitmaker Rethabile shared her mother's passion for some of the topics discussed, especially the lack of unity among fellow female stars.

“The industry is male-dominated and we women need to unite and support one another. But that is difficult to do because we are still in competition. Everyone wants to be number one and if I want to associate myself with, for example, a Nomcebo (Zikode) or a Nolwazi, they will say I want to take their spotlight or I want to use them. There's no unity among women. That is why you find even when there's funding and someone wants to fund women, we end up not getting it because we are not united, so somehow it falls through,” Winnie said.

Winnie is confident women in the industry would benefit from having conversations that would help them foster unity. She believes workshops may work.

However, Rethabile has little to no hope workshops would help. Having had to hustle to get her name out there, despite having a famous mother, Rethabile said the industry is an “every woman for herself” space and she doesn't think that will change. She said unity begins when individuals have the same vision and she thinks artists are generally too different to find the common ground necessary.

“I feel like there's no unity among female artists and I don't think that is going to get fixed. There are people who have already made up their minds about what they want to do and who they are in competition with. I don't think workshops will work because — just like we would be told at school to take notes but only a few did it — we could do workshops but not everybody will fully be on board.

“For me, unity will only happen when individuals see the need for it and act accordingly.”

The mother and daughter duo went on to vent their frustrations about the industry as a whole, and their hope for a better space for women to exist and shine in.