Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
30 Nov 2021
10:48 pm

I did not receive R1 million from Baleka Mbete or government, says Natasha Thahane

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

While she previously said Mbete 'managed to speak to [the department of] arts and culture, Thahane now says that's not really how she got the funding.

Natasha Thahane. (Photo by Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape)

Natasha Thahane says she did not receive R1 million from former speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete or the department of sports, arts and culture for her studies in 2017.

This after revealing an interview on MacG’s Podcast & Chill, that she asked Mbete to “arrange something” for her as she was in need of funding after being accepted to study at the New York Film Academy.

“She managed to speak to [the department of] arts and culture and they gave me funding,” Natasha said.

Thahane came under fire following the interview as people accused her of using her proximity to politicians, as a granddaughter of Desmond Tutu, to get state funding.

But now she says everything she said was taken out of context, further apologising to Mbete for speaking about her “like we have a personal relationship, which is not the case”, Natasha said.

“I would profusely like to apologise to Mam Baleka Mbete and the department because when I watch back and listen to the interview and realise that I spoke about her like we have a personal relationship, which is not the case. She was at a meeting, I was in the building and I approached her and explained that I’d been accepted to go study and asked for advice with regards to any funding,” said Natasha in video clips shared on social media.

While she previously said Mbete “managed to speak to [the department of] arts and culture”, Natasha now says that’s not really how she got the funding. According to Thahane, Mbete only advised her to “explore” the department as they have funding opportunities.

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“That was my first conversation and last conversation with her. She did not make any calls on my behalf, she did not send any emails on my behalf. I apologise for diluting the entire scenario because I made it seem like I had a personal relationship with her, which is not the case.”

Natasha says she then took Mbete’s advice and sent her application to the department and NYDA, among other organisations, and then received communication that her application had been approved.

“I received funding towards my tuition for the first semester to the value of R350,000. From this amount, I received R315,000 to pay towards my tuition. I then had to submit a report with my grades showing that I am in school. I then received the remaining R35,000.”

She said she also received help from a family member.

Watch Natasha’s videos below: