Johannesburg - It's been a rough week for local musician Moonchild Sanelly. First, she was detained at a Tanzanian airport, seemingly on false claims of drug possession
But after arriving back safely in South Africa, she may also be taken to court for allegedly breaching her former talent agency’s contract, with the agency dragging hip hop stars, Die Antwoord into the fray.
On Monday, entertainment company SJN Agency brought an urgent motion against Sanelly (real name Saneliswe Twisha), another talent manager, Lauren Roth de Wolf, her UK-based company Africa Express and Die Antwoord.
According to SJN’s founding papers, Sanelly initially signed with the agency in 2016, signing a three-year exclusive contract that gave SJN 20% of all gross income she earned as an artist.
In May, SJN began negotiations for Sanelly to appear alongside Die Antwoord on their upcoming European tour.
However, after the deal was secured, Sanelly asked to terminate her contract with SJN, opting to use De Wolf as her agent.
Monday’s urgent application saw SJN claim Sanelly had since refused to work with the agency on Die Antwoord tour administration (making the agency appear unprofessional), denigrated the company on social media and also become the reason for the loss of a R100000 sponsorship deal.
SJN director Sarah Jane Nicholson argued that considering the early termination of the contract, Sanelly was still obligated to her contract for a further three-month termination period, and SJN could still demand commission on tours and events booked prior and during this period.
The application asked the high court in Joburg to order that Sanelly and Africa Express pay all commissions until September 27; that Sanelly be prevented from posting negatively about SJN on social media; that Sanelly apologise and be forced to consult with SJN before approaching other promoters and artists when securing work during the termination period.
Ninja and Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad
However, in her responding papers Sanelly denied the existence of the contract - though it is understood this was later provided to the court - and denied allegations she had disrespected the company on social media.
She said the relationship between herself and SJN had broken down, and while she wished no harm on the company, she would not be accepting the agency's demands.
According to Sanelly’s lawyer, Ian Levitt, the court ultimately refused to hear SJN’s application, not believing it was urgent enough to warrant the use of the urgent court.
However, this does not necessarily mean the case will go away, though it's unclear when SJN will launch it’s civil claim against Sanelly.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon a video emerged of Sanelly at an airport in Tanzania, claiming she was racially profiled after being accused of drug possession.
“I’m in Tanzania and I can't make the Cape Town show ’cause people don’t understand colour and they just have to be racist about everything and you have to call them madam but you don’t even have drugs.
“Just because you look like drugs they didn’t find drugs,” she said in the video.
The video shows her continuing to argue with staff, though she reportedly was allowed to return to South Africa.