On August 21, the ex-wife of South African novelist and director of Abantu Festival Thando Mgqolozana publicly accused him of gender-based violence. Go here to see our extensive coverage of the allegations and responses from members of the African literary community.
The production crew of The Ultimate Book Show with Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni, a show that Mgqolozana executive produced, addresses the allegations in the press statement below.
15 September 2021
For Immediate Release
Statement from The Ultimate Book Show with Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni
On the 21st of August, Thando Mgqolozana, the Executive Producer of The Ultimate Book Show, was accused of gender-based violence in a series of tweets by his former partner. Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in South Africa, and as such, the times require a profound moral duty to believe women.
This news has come as a great shock and devastation for the team. As The Ultimate Book Show with Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni, we unequivocally condemn gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is not only a violation of individual rights, but the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators and the fear generated by their actions has horrifying societal effects.
The delayed response is not from a lack of care. Rather, it comes from painful introspection and consideration. Given the severity of the allegations and the hurt that this has caused, Thando Mgqolozana has stepped down from all roles connected to The Ultimate Book Show. For this reason, readers and members of the community who have shared our conviction in the value of this film series can be assured that The Ultimate Book Show is fully delinked from Thando. This means removal of his episode from the series and producer credits, relinquishing copyrights of The Ultimate Book Show with Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni, and giving up producer credits for the show.
Thank you to everyone who inquired about The Ultimate Book Show, concerned about what would happen to the show moving on. We want to be very clear that we are committed to fostering a space of transparency and ethical action. We are driven by a belief in the integrity of what we are trying to achieve, which is providing African authors and the broader literary industry a global platform to connect with readers. We wish to thank the authors who have entrusted their work to us, a trust we do not take lightly. We look forward to sharing the inspirational stories behind their books with the world.
In the last nine months, a sizable team has worked tirelessly to produce The Ultimate Book Show with Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni. We have plans to resume with a roadshow in the Mother City, where the film screenings will occur in Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, and the universities in Cape Town.
Despite the trials, we carry an indefatigable commitment to telling the stories of Poets, Novelists, Scholars, Essayists, and Visual artists, whose gifts bring the living creativity and healing we so desperately need in our chronically wounded society.
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