Johannesburg - South Africa's Independent Black Filmmakers Collective said on Thursday it stood in solidarity with the women who have accused award-winning filmmaker Khalo Matabane of sexual misconduct and rape.
The organisation pledged to undertake educational campaigns and to support women in the industry. Founder of IBFC and director of the film 'Kalushi', Mandla Dube, said he felt complicit in abuse for not speaking out and condemning reported incidents.
''I too am guilty of abuse for not taking a stand when it was someone I know and worked with. I too am at fault for not reaching out to my sisters and colleagues to check if they are getting help. I should have acted sooner,'' Dube said in a statement.
''Having suffered abuse myself at a younger age, I can no longer [just] empathise with the women, and children that are continually victimised. When sex is not consensual it is rape, we cannot call it by any other name.''
Women such as veteran actress Rosie Motene, documentary filmmaker Ingeborg Lichtenberg, Palesa Letlaka and Twitter user @imazathemum have laid bare their encounters with Matabane, considered an industry trailblazer.
The latter posted on Twitter about how Matabane allegedly raped her at a Cape Town hotel during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. A teenager at the time, she alleged that Matabane covered her face with a pillow and raped her. Another woman accused him of raping her in 2013 after he lured her to his hotel room to look at his work.
Veteran filmmaker and a member of the IBFC working committee Ramadan Suleman said he stood with the victims, and that anyone accused of misconduct should be banned from working in the industry again.
''It is ridiculous that some, such as legal advisers, are questioning the validity of these allegations. In the name of my mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, I stand with the victims. Your behaviour is unmanly, abnormal and inhuman. You should not be allowed to work within our industry."
Matabane, 43, denied the allegations in a statement last week. He threatened legal action against his accusers as no criminal case was ever reported to the police.
Matabane's films includes Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me, When We Were Black and the soon to be released prison drama, The Number.
African News Agency/ANA