It was only a matter of time before someone stepped forward and brought the dark side of the struggling Zimbabwean film industry. A local production house, Mirazvo Productions, which is the brainchild behind local television series Muchaneta, is being rocked by allegations of sexual assault after scriptwriter Amanda Ranganawa revealed details of a sordid plot to have her engage in sexual activities with one of the directors.
Amanda, alleges that the Zemura brothers who head Mirazvo plotted to have her sleep with Michael Zemura whom she turned down but not before he touched her thighs as they drove from a celebration party for Muchaneta. The sordid details are laid down in an expose covered by NewsDay in a separate report and another contribution by the complainant. Below is an excerpt from her story,
“This subject is such a taboo in the industry that most women will not raise alarm on sexual predators in the industry. They would rather complain in the shadows than to openly name and shame. Some have the mindset that going to court is a long process and they would rather live quiet lives, so the vicious cycle of disrespect, abuse, exploitation and manipulation continues.”
We were busy screaming at Harvey Weinstein forgetting that the women in our own backyard are very vulnerable to sexual assault. The lack of adequate industry jobs is the main weapon the predators use. The American industry might have a better standing because of the availability of jobs, some women escape this vicious circle. Their Zimbabwean counterparts, however, have it the other way around. The scarcity of roles leaves budding actresses vulnerable as they sacrifice their dignity to secure a job.
We hope this is only the beginning of the exposes. We need more female industry players to come forward and bring these issues to light. The industry is the cusp of booming, we would not want to carry misfits and abusers into the new age of film.