Afriforum, a local self-proclaimed civil rights organisation is upset with Netflix and its Black Creatives Empowerment Fund that it’s calling discriminatory.
Netflix announced the fund in September and pledged over R6 million. R4.6 million will go towards supporting aspiring black creatives in SA by cancelling higher education debt and offering postgraduate scholarships.
The remaining R1.5 million will go to the Independent Black Filmmakers Collective (IBFC), a local network of producers, filmmakers and directors in the film and television industry.
Afriforum took great offence with this initiative. The NGO launched a partition in which it called the initiative “blatant racial discrimination” because it’s aimed at empowering black creatives specifically.
Ernst van Zyl, Afriforum campaign officer for strategy and content, told MyBroadband, “with this scholarship, an ambitious white student that wants to apply will be immediately rejected based solely on the colour of their skin, regardless of their financial background.”
Go touch some grass Afriforum
What Afriforum might not know is that this is far from Netflix’s first or only large contribution to the South African film industry. Netflix provided what totalled over R15 million in funds to help struggling film industry workers during the varying levels of lockdown last year in July and September.
The streaming company has also partnered with a number of local institutes for skills development, training and for hosting competitions such as the African Folktales, Reimagined short film competition with UNESCO. All of these initiatives and partnerships are available to all races.
Ben Amadasun, director of content for Netflix in Africa, said “We recognise that being part of the local creative community in South Africa also comes with responsibilities, in particular the need to develop the talent pipeline and give new voices the chance to be heard.”