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Ms Nomhle Nkonyeni

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Ms Nomhle Nkonyeni Awarded for:
Her excellent contribution to the performing arts. Over many decades, she has shown durability and adaptability. She has graced national and international stages, and her mastery of her craft has moved many audiences locally and around the world.
Profile of Nomhle Nkonyeni

Ms Nomhle Nkonyeni is a renowned veteran actress who has shared her gift with audiences, in Africa and internationally, for the past five decades.

Her wealth of experience has been gained through her outstanding work as a stage, screen and television (TV) actor and director. Born in 1942, in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, she has established herself and has appropriately been identified as a major part of the history of theatre in this country.

Through the Serpent drama group, which performed anti-apartheid classics, she is one of the few remaining members, with John Kani and Athol Fugard having received their National Orders. Nkonyeni’s contribution to the arts has been described as immeasurable by his

Her diverse skills and influence transcend the performing arts to include lobbying and advocacy for the sustainable development of arts and culture. She is one of the initiators of the Outreach Theatre for Education Programme. Her passionate commitment to the development of theatre is being demonstrated through her own personal growth and development, which has seen her completing a Master’s degree in Theatre for Development through the King Alfred’s College in Winchester, United Kingdom, in 2002. She also obtained a Diploma in Conflict Management from Lewsham College in London, in 1999.

Nkonyeni’s involvement in development work stemmed from her studies while engaged in academic research through her work as a facilitator and fieldworker for the Chirede rural community in Zimbabwe, and as a consultant to a community arts company in London
Borough, through the auspices of the Theatre for Development.

Her passion for the performing arts is only matched by her fervour for creating opportunities for knowledge and skills transfer to young people through education and mentoring.

Her work as a volunteer drama teacher at the Shelter for Street Kids from 1986 to 1989, is further testimony to her commitment to development. In 1992 she was invited to implement and facilitate the youth projects at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

Nkonyeni performed and acted in ground-breaking plays at the experimental theatre, The Space, in Cape Town. In 2007 she performed at the Young Vic Theatre in the theatre production, Generations.

Most recently she appeared with Embeth Davids in the film, Skin and appeared in the international movie, Red Dust and the local movie, Wooden Camera.

Her numerous TV credits include Isidingo, Society, Scandal, Tsha Tsha and Stokvel. In 2006, Nkonyeni received a Naledi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre.

In 2013 she played the part as Forest Whitaker’s mother in the international film Zulu, where she performed alongside Orlando Bloom and Hilary Swank.

She recently played the ‘gogo’ (old woman) in Ihawu le Sizwe (SABC: 2014). In 2015 she portrayed the role of ‘Nomzuzu, Queen Mother’ in the series, Igazi.