A biopic of the late South African icon Brenda Fassie has finally been given the green light after over a year of back and forth between the singer’s estate and former manager Chicco Twala over its production rights.
According to the executor of the Brenda Fassie estate Vaughn Eaton, the film 'Brenda' is back on track after Judge Nomonde Patience Mngqibisa-Thusi’s ruling in Pretoria that dismissed Chicco's application against the late singer's son, Bongani Fassie.
“You keep on including the third respondent (Bongani) in your demand that the other respondents should not have the rights to make the film…bearing in mind that at the time he was the sole heir and a major‚ the decision the estate takes needs to consult the sole heir‚” ruled Mngqibisa-Thusi at North Gauteng High Court.
Eaton, in an interview with TshisaLIVE, revealed that the biopic was slated for release in late 2020 or early 2021.
A welcome relief four months after the city of Johannesburg confirmed that the statue of Fassie will return to Newtown-a suburb of Johannesburg - after it was removed for repairs on June 11 2019, following concerns about its safety.
In his suit, Twala claimed that he owned all the intellectual property to her music and opposed the move by Bongani to go ahead with the movie soon after signing a deal with UK production company Showbizbee and Legaci Nova Entertainment to produce the film.
“We are fighting for nothing. Bongani has the rights to his mother and I have the rights to the music. Why don’t we work together?
"…It is not about money. I am not against them shooting the film. Even when he told me about the film with a UK company, I told him we can make a great film together. But I was not consulted. I don't want the money. I don't want a cent of it. I just want Brenda to be represented properly and not painted in the wrong light. They don't know anything about her. The people who were close to her and could give the truth about her life must be involved. If she died of drugs, let's not say she died of asthma," said Chicco.
Twala claimed that Bongani went to him for financial aid with the documentary as early as 2010 and signed an agreement before it was reportedly amended to include the executor of the Brenda Fassie estate.
When Eaton reportedly terminated that agreement and Twala found out that the biopic was in the works without his consent, he marched to court.
“It doesn't affect me, it affects the producers. They need me more than I need them,” he said over the biopic's delay.
“The delays are not good for anyone. It's a financial burden to us as well. We have 18 to 32 people working for us between the UK and South Africa. Those people need to be paid but the project is not moving forward. The longer the delays, the more it will hurt financially,” said Eaton at the time.
The beloved South African siren died on May 9, 2004. She was 39.