Gcina Mhlophe is returning to Europe this September and June 2014 to share with us her fascinating stories, chants, peoms about old legends, modern myths and everything else that comes to her mind.
born 24th of October 1958 in Durban, South Africa
Zulu, Xhosa, English, Sotho
1979 matriculation at the Mfundisweni High School
Cadet journalism course at the Rhodes University
6 months film making course as part of Interchurch Media Programme’s community project
Part-time news reading for the Press trust, BBC Radio, Africa service, ZBC, etc.
1982/83 writing for the “Learn and Teach” magazine
1983 Lead actress in “Umongikazi – The Nurse”, by Maishe Maponya, later touring England, Ireland, Holland and Switzerland
1984/85 Acting in the workshop play “The Black Dog – Injemnyama”, directed by Barney Simon, touring South Africa
1985 and 87 – 89 Writing and acting in the autobiographical piece “Have you seen Zandile?”, touring South Africa, Lesotho, most of Europe – participating at the Edinburgh festival. Mounting the piece as a Visiting Director at the “Chicago Theatre Co.” and at “Knoxville’s Carpet Bag Theatre” in Tennessee with different US. actors, who later went touring USA.
1986 Acting in the workshop play “Born In The RSA”, directed by Barney Simon, touring South Africa, England, most of Europe and the US. Participation at the Edinburgh festival.
1987 Visiting assistant director with Barney Simon at Boston’s “Brandeis University, workshopping and staging the musical play “Written By Hand”.
1989/90 Resident Director at the “Market Theatre” of Johannesburg. Co-writing and singing in the musical “Inyanga”, directed by Barney Simon. Writing and directing “Somdaka, touring Johannesburg’s Townships, and Zimbabwe.
1995 Co-writing an adaptation of Brecht’s “The Good Person Of Sechuan” with Janet Suzman for BBC, London and the Market Theatre, Johannesburg
1998 Wrote and performed in the one woman show “Love Child”, by Mannie Manim Production. Took it to Japan to the Solo Festival in Tokyo
1987 “OBIE” Award as best actress in “Born in the RSA” – New York
1987 “Fringe First Award” for best production of “Have You Seen Zandile” – Edinburgh Festival
1988 “Joseph Jefferson Award” as best actress in “Have You Seen Zandile” – Chicago
1988 “Sony Award” nomination for best production of “Have You Seen Zandile” – BBC Radio Africa
cinema and TV:
1986 Lead Actress in “Place Of Weeping”, directed by Darryl Roodt and produced by Anant Singh
1988 Lead Actress in “Palesa”, written and directed by Elaine Proctor
1990 Acting, telling stories and performing poetry in the documentary “Songololo”, directed by Marianne Kaplan, Canada
1992 Acting and narrating in the documentary “Travelling Songs” by Lindy Wilson
1995 Narrating in the documentary “Prisoners Of Hope” by Danny Schechter, USA
TV – Presenter for “Art Works” and “Litracy Alive” at SABC and frequent voice over work
1998 Nine part storytelling TV series”Gcina and Friends” for SABC, produced by Endemol, sponsored by JOKO, Unilever.
2002 Ten Part History series for Television “LOOKING BACK, MOVING FORWARD” for SABC Education
2005 & 2006 Presented Traditional Music Program ZINDALA ZOMBILI on SABC Television
2007 Narration for the Internationally acclaimed Angolan Documentary Film, “SAUDADES, From the One Who oves You.”
Literature, storytelling and heritage awards:
1994 “Bookchat Award” for “Molo Zoleka!”, BC Magazine, SA
1991 “NOMA-Award” Nomination for “Queen Of The Tortoises”
1994 Honorary Doctorate for Literature by the London Open University, England
1996 “Carl Lohann” Award for children’s books
1998 Honorary Doctorate for Literature by the University of Natal, RSA
2004 Award for Life Time Achievment in Contribution to Traditional Arts
2004 Nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Sweden
Astrid lindgren Award nomination for three more years in a row 2007, 2008 and
2010, SAMA Award for Songs & Stories of Africa CD
2010. LIVING LEGENDS Award, Dept of Arts & Culture, KwaZulu Natal
2010 LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT Award, Arts & Culture Trust, RSA
2011 Award for Contribution toArts in Education, by Dept of Education KZN
performing poetry and storytelling:
1988 Performing poetry in a one woman show during the international “Women’s Project Festival”, New York.
1988 Conducting storytelling workshops and performing in local libraries and at schools.
1989/90 Conducting storytelling workshops at teacher training colleges and directing performances
1989 Co-operating with the READ education Trust on several of their literacy projects.
1989 Workshops in dramatising and choreographing stories with the Cape-Town Jazzart Dance School.
1989/90 Organising two national storytelling festivals with the “Market Theatre”
1990 Performing Stories and Poetry at the “Werkstatt III” Festival in Hamburg, Germany
1990 Directing and performing in Storytelling productions at the “Grahamstown Arts Festival” and the “Schools Festival”
1992 Founding and directing the storytellers’ organisation “Zanendaba”, Johannesburg, SA
Since 1992: Touring and performing in South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, England, Netherlands, Australia and others
1992/93 Teaching as a visiting lecturer at Natal University/SA; Kyoto Syka University/ Japan and Edge Hill, Lancashire/England
1994 Releasing “Gift Of The Tortoise” with Lady Smith Black Mambazo – a children’s’ songs and stories CD, Music For Little People, California, USA
1994/95 Storytelling to raise awareness about endangered animals at the Easter Rand Show, commissioned by Nedbank
1994/95 Workshop performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in UK and SA
1995 Creating and performing stories for the London Royal Academy Of Arts in connection with the “Africa 95” festival exhibition.
1995 Keynote speaker at the “IDEA 95” International Dramatists’ Congress, Brisbane, Australia
Since 1995 motivational talks for “Liberty Life”, “DION”, “Escom”, “Juicy Lucy”, others
Since 1995 weekly storytelling on Radio Zulu and Radio Xhosa
1996 Storytelling tour and promotion of the book “Love Child” in Switzerland
Since 1996 Consultant for JOKO on their African languages programme.
1997 Performed at the Durban Poetry Festival hosted and organized by the University of Natal, SA
1997 Participated in the Würburg “Afrika Festival” and toured Germany
1997 Toured France with storytelling performances and workshops held at public libraries
1997 Lectured at the University of Bergamo. Performed at pubic schools in Milan, Italy
1997 Release of the CD “der welt erzählt” (the world tells stories); an anthology on storytelling by “die Erklärung von Bern und dem Züricher Puppentheater”
1998 Performed poetry at the United Nations’ Conference ECA celebrating African Women in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia
1998 Doing “Peter and the Wolf” with the Durban Synfonic Orchestra
1998 Performing “Africa at the Opera” with the “Francis Bebe Quartett” and “Ladysmith Black Mambazo” at the Köln Philharmonie and other Opera Houses in Germany
1998 Touring in the North of Germany for the “Schleswig Holtstein Kindertheater-Festival”
1998 Participated in an intensive musical workshop in Senegal’s Goree Island at the Goree Institute , with many African musicians from different African countries .
1999 Toures 26 schools telling stories and running story creation workshops in the Schlesvic Holtstein region in North Germany
1999 Ran a two week master class on the Art of Storytelling and Story Creation as part of Das Arts School of the Arts in Amsterdam , Holland
1999 Wrote stories and music for musical storytelling show WAVES & TALES at Durban’s Playhouse Theatre with guitarist Bheki Khoza
1999 Was one of the top performers at the GRAZ International Storytelling Festival in Austria .
1999 M. C. and performer at the Wuerzburg Africa Festival in Germany, the focus country was South Africa.
1999 Took WAVES & TALES to the U S A and performemed to a highly enthisiastic audience at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC
1999 Was awarded the ARTS & CULTURE HERITAGE AWARD for
preserving the art and heritage of African Storytelling
1999 Wrote and directed a family musical play , MATA- MATA at Durban’s Playhouse Theatre, ( I wrote both music and script.)
2000 Recorded new series of Radio Storytelling programmes for 1. UMHLOBO WENENE Radio ( Xhosa ) and UKHOZI Fm ( Zulu ) both sponsored by the JOKO Storytelling Project .
2000 Wrote and presented story for Animated Taled of the World Project, and then Co – wrote the script of same story “How Tortoise Won Restpect” for animated film by RIGHT ANGLE TV ( England ) in collaboration with SABC Education. Also wrote & recorded music for the same film
with musicians Pops Mohamed and Bheki Khoza.
2000 Representing South Africa at the Hannover “Expo”, Germany
2000 Touring RSA with the”Million Books Project”
2001 and 2002 Nozincwadi Litracy Campagne – touring rural areas in South Africa. Promoting the importance of reading and starting school library boxes.
A CD was also recorded with music, stories and poetry with the strong reading message for young people. Every school visited received a large box full of books for their library.
2003 Story telling tour of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria
2003 Writer’s residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston USA
2004 Visiting Lecturer to conduct Storytelling Workshop with second year drama students at University of Cape Town
2004 Visiting schools and universities in Brasil on the invitation of the RSA High Commissioner, Sao Paulo
2004 Participating in the hosting of iBbY Congress in South Africa
2004 Italian tour to promote “Le Story de Mazanendaba”
2004 Touring the UK for the promotion of South African literature as part of the celebration of “Ten Years of Democracy”
2006 Gcina represented South Africa at the FIFA WORLD CUP in Germany and performed at the SAfrican World Cup Logo Reveal, a performance that was broadcast to billions of Television viewer around the world.
2008 received Honorary Doctorates for Literature and Contribution to Africa’s Cultural Heritage from University of Pretoria and from Fort hare University
Again on the same year she received the PRESTIGE AWARD from CITY Press and RAPPORT newspapers for excellence in her field.
2008 NOZINCWADI work grew to host the First Storytelling Festival, celebrating Books and Stories. 2009 the Festival was again a great success!
2009 Gcina travelled to Germany and Greenland to perform with an all woman cast “HOUSE OF SONG & HOPE” she wrote the script and music.
Same year she stayed on and created a new Workshop Theatre Piece with Greenlandic performers, a TRAVELLING SONG, a partnership that will be performed at the Vancouver Arctic Winter Games in March 2010. In all she does, Gcina continues to fly South Africa’s flag with pride.
2010 Launch of Songs and Stories of Africa CD in isiZulu and isiXhosa
2010, Gcina represented South Africa in Egypt for the Celebration of African Cultures
2010, Stories of Africa also came out in Portuguese in South America
2010, AFRICAN MOTHER CHRISTMAS CD released
2011, Jaipur Literature Festival in India, where she received great appreciation for her books as well as storytelling performances
2011, Manila, Philippines, as guest of the SA Embassy: “Moonlight Magic” a storytelling show which was very well received. She also ran Master Classes for Teachers and Librarians
2011, Singapore, Hosted by the National Museum as part of the CONGO Mask Exhibition.
2011, Book, ‘AFRICAN TALES” with Barefoot Publishers also came out in Portugues and Japanese.