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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DUMA NDLOVU Poet. Journalist. Playwright. Film-maker. Born in the South African township of Soweto, he is a graduate of Hunter College (New York) where he studied as a Phelps-Stokes Fellow. Throughout his studies at Hunter, he was active in raising student consciousness, not only on issues involving South Africa but on the state of Black People at large. He became the college's Student Government President in 1981, the first – and so far only – African to be elected to that prestigious position. As President of the Student Government he was responsible for bringing a number of prominent, world-leading entertainers and politicians to the school’s campus, including the likes of Miriam Makeba, Stokely Carmichael, Peter Tosh, Walter Rodney, Michael Manley (then Prime Minister of Jamaica), and Maurice Bishop (then President of Grenada). Ndlovu worked with a number of black not-for-profit groups in Harlem, New York, including the Black United Fund and Roger Furman's New Heritage Theater. It was at the New Heritage Theater that he produced the hit South African play "WOZA ALBERT," in 1984. In April of 1986 he – together with Voza Rivers (Roger Furman's Executive director) – brought the much acclaimed play "ASINAMALI" to the U.S., and also put together the highly successful South African Theater Festival, WOZA AFRIKA, at Lincoln Center in September of the same year. The five plays that were presented at the festival together with "WOZA ALBERT" were later published in an anthology (which he edited): "WOZA AFRIKA, AN ANTHOLOGY OF SOUTH AFRICAN PLAYS." It became one of the very few anthologies on South African theatre. In April of 1987, Ndlovu assembled a group of producers and took the acclaimed South African play, "ASINAMALI" to Broadway. It marked the first time that a Black South African play came to the Broadway stage, and the first time that a South African was involved as a producer on the so-called 'Major Leagues' of theater. Through the WOZA AFRIKA FOUNDATION, of which he is Executive Director, Ndlovu was instrumental in giving grants to numerous South African township theater beneficiaries including individuals and companies. One of the beneficiaries was a company formed by Mbongeni Ngema named COMMITTED ARTIST, which went on to create the hit Broadway play “SARAFINA” with the grant money it received. He then worked with Lincoln Center Theater to bring SARAFINA to the United States for what was intended to be a limited ten week run on Broadway, which was eventually extended due to popular demand. Sarafina toured the United States and then the world for six years.

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