Buhle Ngaba

Artist in residence

Buhle Ngaba is a multi-award winning South African actor, writer, and speaker.

She studied Acting and Contemporary performance at Rhodes University and Processes of Performance at the University of Leeds (UK). She performed in the world premiere of John Kani’s play Missing at the Baxter Theatre (SA) and went on to tour internationally with the production, earning her national nominations for “Best Supporting Actress” for both the Fleur Du Cap Theatre Awards and the Naledi Theatre Awards.

In 2016, Ngaba won the prestigious Brett Goldin Bursary, which earned her the opportunity to expand her knowledge of Shakespeare and acting ability at The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) (Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK). It was during her time there, that Ngaba began to conceptualise and write her first one-woman play: Swan Song.

In 2018, she played Bianca in an all-women cast of The Taming of the Shrew for the annual Maynardville Theatre (SA) offering, solidifying the experience she had gained at the RSC and her yearning to teach what she had learnt. These experiences resulted in her curating Shakespeare Grounded; a programme consolidating all she learnt whilst at the RSC with the aim of teaching these skills to young learners in South Africa. The programme facilitates access to Shakespeare through a practical approach between teacher and student. The programme can be adjusted to suit any number of pupils and is inclusive of all students. Since its inception, Ngaba has implemented it at the University of Cape Town (2018/19) and at AFDA Film School (2020). She was nominated to form part of the Shakespeare Society of South Africa’s Executive Committee (Theatre portfolio, 2020).

COVID-19 has impacted the performing artists globally. In response to this, Ngaba spearheaded the #lockdownshakespeare initiative with the South African Shakespeare Society, contributing to the SA arts economy by promoting theatre makers and helping to provide some financial support.

Ngaba is conducting research for her new novel that is focused on the life and times of her great aunt Ruth Mompati. Said research commenced in 2019 alongside her mother, Sindi Ngaba before her sad and untimely death following cancer.

Other achievements: 

  • Pro-Helvetia Swiss Studio Residency; Artist (2020)
  • Virtual National Arts Festival; premier film screening (2020); Swan Song
  • 20th Anniversary of The Women’s Legal Centre (SA); Keynote address (2019)
  • Localised The New Girl Code (2019)
  • Women’s Creative Writing Mentorship Project, University of Iowa (IWP); participant (2019)
  • AWP Conference (Portland); attendee (2019)
  • Mbokodo Awards for Women in the Arts; Rising Light Award (2019)
  • Fleur Du Cap Theatre Award; Best Ensemble Cast (2018); What Remains
  • Hyundai Kona Studio – Afropunk (2018/19); MC
  • Design Indaba Conference (2018/2019); MC
  • KKNK – Kanna Award; Best Upcoming Artist (2017); Swan Song
  • KKNK – Kanna Award; Best Production – Uitkamp Teater (2017); Swan Song
  • Superbalist Top 100 Entrepreneur List; voted number 1 (2016)
  • Mail and Guardians’ Top 200 Young South Africans; named (2016)
  • Gauteng Youth Premier’s Award of Excellence (2016)
  • The Girl Without A Sound; written and published (2016); available in 11 official ZA languages
  • TedX Table Mountain; How Storytelling Can Change How We See the World (2016)

Related news

MAXEKE: “This work is not for yourselves”

This production premieres at the Star Theatre at the District Six Homecoming Centre (formerly the Fugard Theatre) on the 7th February until the 11th February 2023.

In the Press: Buhle Ngaba on CHR Charlotte Maxeke Production

CHR Artist in Residence Buhle Ngaba is writing a screenplay for a groundbreaking puppetry production on the life of Charlotte Maxeke.

Performing Charlotte Maxeke

With 2021 being declared “The Year of Charlotte Maxeke,” the DSI-NRF Flagship on Critical thought in the African Humanities at the Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, has embarked on a special production based on the life of Maxeke.

Hamlet, Live and In Progress

CHR Artists in Residence Buhle Ngaba and Tony Bonani Miyambo are set to perform a live reading of Neil Coppen’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet as part of KKNK 2021.