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My elderly mom feeds me - Sebezo outlines plight of freelance actors

Linda Sebezo
Linda Sebezo
Image: Supplied

TV star Linda Sebezo is cursing every minute of Covid-19 national lockdown because it has forced her to rely on her mother’s pension to survive.

Like many freelancers, Sebezo has been praying for acting calls to come fast to better her situation. The seasoned stage and TV actor has been freelancing since 1980 and she said it was difficult to survive because they were paid per call.

The actress took to social media last week voicing her disappointment after her application to the R150m relief fund was turned down because she was a freelancer. Sebezo, who last acted just before the national lockdown on Isibaya, said she never thought that her 76-year-old mother would one day take care of her financially.

The actor is currently appearing on two TV shows, Lockdown and Isibaya. She said the public believe that she had money because she appeared in many shows.

“I am a hard worker and I have been working hard since I was 15. Everything I have, I achieved through the freelance work. I hate to see my mother taking her pension money and buying bread for us … I’m a bread-winner and a single mother. I have always made sure my mother had everything she wants.”

“I had money that I saved but I had to use to pay for school fees for my child who is at tertiary and paid the bond during lockdown. I think the public does not understand the challenges freelancers face. No work, no pay. I wrote on social media not because I wanted sympathy, I was stating challenges facing freelancers. Before we applied, they never said freelancers were not qualified to apply.”

Sebezo explained that as much as many soapies have resumed shooting as a call actor she was not sure when will she get a call.

“When you are a call actor, sometimes you get five calls in a month and you earn for those calls. If there are no calls you won’t earn in that month. People need to stop thinking that TV stars enjoy a rich lifestyle.”

Labour minister Thulas Nxesi said about freelancers: “The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted a number of gaps in our social provision. In relation to the UIF, there are important groups that are not covered – the informal sector, non-standard and freelance workers.”

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