South African actor Sello Maake Ka-Ncube who has performed both on stage and on screen for over 30 years, has long advocated for African culture to be respected and preserved through the arts.
He underwent a hunger strike in 2009 with the hope of encouraging the government to do more about the condition of the industry. Now, eight years later, the star said that conditions have not improved.
“We are still in a situation where culture is not valued and respected. During Apartheid, culture was accentuated and these cultures were fostered and grown. Social and political conditions were atrocious, but cultures were preserved and showcased in a way that was abandoned after democracy. It is because of this that the industry is now more barren than before 1994.
“It is sad that some actors nowadays do not appreciate their culture. They speak languages in half sentences instead of paying the language the respect it deserves by speaking in full sentences. It may sound like a small point, but during Apartheid these things were forced and there was a real sense of cultural identity,” Sello said.
He said that he was in love with African culture and decided to abandon a potentially lucrative stay overseas in an attempt to reform the local industry.
“I moved overseas to pursue several acting opportunities but returned because I believed in our culture. I could have been overseas with a great career, taking projects across the world,” he said.
Sello also criticised the 90% local content quota, which was implemented at the SABC last year. The veteran believed that it failed because of a lack of planning.
“It sounded great when it was announced but it wasn’t planned properly and the potential benefits of it were never felt at grass roots,” he explained.
Sello claimed that it was part of a wider problem that was also showing itself in the current leadership of the country.
“Black people lack vision. We live for the now. You can see this in our country’s leadership. They should have been leading the way but they are misguiding so much of the population. At least during Apartheid we understood why we were being oppressed, now we are left with so many more questions than answers,” he added.