RESPECTING YOUR CRAFT IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN EVER DO FOR YOURSELF.
Ndlovu’s play SHEILA'S DAY – celebrating the commonalties between African-American and South African domestic workers – was produced by the Crossroads Theater Company in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1987. It went on to tour the U.S. with performances at The FORD THEATER in Washington D.C and the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. The play toured for a total of four years. A workshopped project titled BLACK CODES FROM THE UNDERGROUND – conceived and created by Ndlovu, and co-written with Gregory Holtz and Laydin Kaliba – was produced as part of the Lincoln Center Festival in July 1999.
Ndlovu has been a visiting professor at Stoneybrook University, part of the State University of New York (SUNY), where he taught African history and political science for two years. He has also travelled all over the United States speaking to college students, reading his poetry, and addressing conventions and seminars on South African arts and culture.
He is widely regarded as a South African cultural emissary who was responsible to a large degree for the upsurge of interest in South African arts and culture in the United States over the last ten to fifteen years. He was also directly and indirectly involved with the successes of groups like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mbongeni Ngema and Sarafina, and a whole host of others.
Since returning to South Africa in 1992 – after to the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the un-banning of prominent political organizations, and the end of Apartheid – Ndlovu has written and directed plays, and produced for television. Among his plays are BERGVILLE STORIES, THE GAME (which won a number of Vita Awards including best director, best script, and best play), and THE RITUAL (which was commissioned by London’s Million Feds Productions and was performed at London's Riverside Studios). His most recent play, a musical, THE JOURNEY, travelled to Switzerland in January 2004, as part of the TENTH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS of South Africa’s democracy.
In 1999 he was head-hunted by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to be part of a media center where he was tasked with turning around the negative media around the elections. In 2001 he was asked by his home community of Bergville in KwaZulu Natal to mediate a conflict between two warring chiefs, where he assembled a delegation of tribesmen and community leaders, and created a structure that peacefully resolved the conflict, bringing an end to an internecine war in the region. He has also been part of a number of other peace initiatives.
Among his television credits are documentaries and made-for-TV dramas. MUVHANGO, a thirteen-episode drama ran a highly successful season on public broadcasting channel SABC 2, is now in its 19th season and boasts an average viewership 6 million viewers a day, making it the 2nd or 3rd highest-watched television program on South African television. Another one of his conceptions and creations, soapie UZALO which airs on public broadcasting channel SABC 1 with a viewership in excess of 8 million, became the most watched South African
television program within 3 months of being on air.
He is also currently employed as South African Casting Director for Disney Theatricals, which produces hit Broadway musical THE LION KING among others.
He has been on a few boards of not for profit organizations including the UKHAHLAMBA DEVELOPMENT TRUST and the KING MATIWANE TRUST. He was on the board of THE PLAYHOUSE COMPANY between 2005 and 2008 and is currently on the Board of OGILVY AND MATHER South Africa.
Ndlovu has authored hundreds of unpublished poems and short stories and is currently working on a book WHEN THE SUN IS BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE: REFLECTION ON A LIFE LIVED, a chronicle of his travels and journies over the last forty years. He has written extensively for newspapers and other publications. He has also been a host on “e-Files”, an investigative and insightful current affairs television programme that airs on Sunday-evenings on South African channel E-TV.
He was also a member of the South African Music Awards (SAMA) committee for its first ten years, and chairperson of the SAMAs until his resignation in 2005. In recognition of the bar-raising work Ndlovu did in Harlem to introduce South African cultural expressions, the 9th May 2016 was declared “Duma Ndlovu Day” in Harlem by Congressman Charles Rangel.
He was conferred with an honorary PhD in English by The University of Venda (South Africa) May 2011.
In everything he does, he continually gives tribute to Black Consciousness Movement founder Bantu Steven Biko as a man who has been the major force of inspiration in his life. Ndlovu attributes the late Bantu Steven Biko – founder of the Black Consciousness Movement and anti-apartheid activist – as the major force of inspiration in his life. At sixty two years old, Duma Ndlovu is married and has six children.
Board Membership (past and present):
- WOZA AFRIKA FOUNDATION (Chair)
- Black United Fund Of New York
- New Heritage Theater
- Ukhahlamba Development Trust
- King Matiwane Development Trust
- The Playhouse Company (2006-2009)
- Ogilvy South Africa
- Gauteng Enterprise Propeller
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