Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Correspondent
NAMA award-winning film director Lenni Sibanda found himself in the crosshairs of city arts practitioners after a former protégé, Laura Mbeve, claimed that he had used his position to have sexual intercourse with her.
Before last weekend’s revelation, Mbeve had kept her twitter followers on the tenterhooks, detailing how a faceless arts guru had taken advantage of her, using her desperation for a mentor as leverage to ask for sexual favours.
“I was manipulated and eventually forced into sex by someone who was supposed to mentor me. Thereafter he started harassing me, trying to call me almost every day etc,” she wrote on a twitter thread.
“It started off so exciting, I thought wow, so this man won a Nama award, I’m so lucky he wants to take me under his wing.
I’m a very passionate person and I’m guessing he picked up on that and used it against me. He made me feel like he was the only one that was going to help.
I fell for it. This industry is all based on cliques and if you don’t know many people you won’t go far. So I thought, I’m lucky this man wants to help, the least I could do is not upset him, lest he decides not to help me anymore. That’s when he started making his advances,” she wrote.
Supporting herself with screenshots from their WhatsApp conversations, Mbeve detailed how Sibanda had manipulated her.
“I tried not to entertain his advances until he would get frustrated and threaten to stop working with me or he would pretend to have my best interests at heart. This man broke me down mentally before he invaded my whole being. For a while after the whole thing I blamed myself, I still blame myself, knowing that this man had such unclean intentions with me, I still allowed myself to endure it.”
Mbeve also revealed that she had not taken the matter to the police.
“No, I didn’t report him. I feared I would be viewed as a wh**e that sleeps with men to get to the top. That was not the case and I did not lead him on in any way. I looked up to him, I trusted him and I was in awe of him. He knew that and he used that against me.”
While Mbeve was reluctant to take the matter to authorities, Sibanda said that he would take the legal route to resolve the issue.
“This matter cannot play out on social media. I trust the country’s justice system and my wife and I have taken the matter to our lawyers,” he said.