Ukwanda Puppet and Design Company

Fellow: Factory of the Arts, Artist in Residence

Formerly the Masiphumelele Youth Development Theatre Group, Ukwanda Puppet and Design Company was formed during the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa by Luyanda Nogodlwane and Ncedile Daki, both former members of Handspring Puppet Company. Masiphumelele, a Xhosa word meaning “we will succeed”, is a township along the road to Kommetjie in the southern Cape Peninsula.

Ukwanda initially made makaraba, the hand-made helmets worn by soccer fans, also performing as a dance group with traditional and hip hop outfits, sometimes during township tours. They have performed at a variety of venues, including schools, theatres and festivals. In 2014 they performed at the Montague National Youth Arts Festival, Western Cape; at the Cape Town Fringe Festival; and at the Farewell Festival for retiring UWC rector, Brian O’Connell, UWC campus. In 2015 they are scheduled to appeared at the Zabalaza Theatre Festival at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, and at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa.

In February 2017, artist, puppeteer and member of Ukwanda, Ncedile Daki was shot and killed outside of his home in Driftsands. The loss of Ned rippled through Ukwanda, the CHR, the Handspring Puppet Company and the broader Cape Town arts community. The annual Barrydale puppetry parade and performance on December 17, 2017 titled Renosterbos was dedicated to the memory of Ncedile Daki and to his long dream of doing a puppet parade with rhinos.

Ukwanda’s puppet production, Qhawe, a Xhosa fairytale, is directed by Mongiwekhaya (Mongi) Mthombeni, with the assistance of Gabriel Merchand, and the puppets are designed by Luyanda Nogodlwana, with the support of other members of Ukwanda. Qhawe is based on a story from Xhosa tradition about how animals once had the power to communicate with people, particularly the Amaqaba, the red people, so-named because of the red ochre they wore on their clothes in order to communicate with the ancestors. More particularly, Qhawe tells the story of a son of a chief (Qhawe), born to the younger of his two wives (Mamcirha). Because she is jealous, the older wife (Marhadebe), who cannot fall pregnant, steals the child at birth, replacing him with a puppy.  Qhawe is then reared by animals far from his home village. Marhadebe, the older wife, replaces the child with a puppy. As an older person, Qhawe returns to the village of his birth, only to find that it is being terrorised by a snake called ‘Great One’. On killing the snake, he becomes a hero of the village and is also re-united with his father, the chief.

Ukwanda Puppet and Design Company is supported by the Handspring Trust for Puppetry Arts and the CHR at UWC.

Contact details

Luyanda Nogodlwana: 083 7607700

Sipho Ngxola: 073 823 9782

Siphokazi Mphofu: 078 524 1847

Olifant Land Gallery


I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Related News

The Walk: UWC & Boschendal Wish Little Amal Safe Travels

As South Africa celebrated Heritage Day this year, Boschendal Estate in Franschhoek provided an ideal backdrop for the first steps of Little Amal, a three-metre puppet created by the Handspring Puppet Company from South Africa to represent the plight of a refugee child.

The New Normal Life

The New Normal Life is a film with puppetry about the pandemic, written, directed, performed, filmed and edited by the Ukwanda Puppetry and Design Collective

CHR Artists in Residence, Ukwanda Puppetry and Art Collective take part in the National Arts Festival.

CHR Artists in Residence, Ukwanda Puppetry and Art Collective will take part in the premier tonight of their collaborative project with Pop Art, Fak’ugezi and the National Arts Festival at 6pm titled The Lonely Sailor Weather Report.

CHR’s Ukwanda Puppets off to Germany

The CHR is delighted to share Ukwanda’s incredible achievements.

KINESIS: Of Moving and Being Moved

Between July 6th and July 10th 2019, the Laboratory of Kinetic Objects (LoKO) at the CHR hosted a colloquium on Subject/Object relations, in an ongoing exploration of Animation, Animism, Thing Theory, the Subject and the Object, Puppetry Arts and performance.

Ukwanda Wins at Makhanda

The CHR production of Warona performed by Ukwanda Puppetry and Design Collective has been voted the 2019 Standard Bank Ovation Award at the Makhanda Arts Festival.


Presented by: Ukwanda Puppets and Designs Company


New Performance by Ukwanda Puppetry Collective

New Work by Ukwanda Puppetry Collective and LoKO

The CHR's artists in residence, the uKwanda puppetry group, is in rehearsal, working with director Thando […]

A conversation with Ukwanda Puppet Artists from South Africa

Ukwanda Puppets & Designs Art Collective was developed through the mentorship of Handspring Puppet Company.

Tribute to Ncedile Daki and Mluleki Sam

The Factory of the Arts of the Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape invites to you a tribute to artists Ncedile Daki and Mlu

Olifantland – Barrydale parade

The 2016 Barrydale Puppet Parade and Performance brings you Olifantland, a multilingual visual theatre show […]

Aug 30, 2015

Ukwanda Puppet and Design Company

Factory of the Arts, Artist in Residence

The CHR in the time of a global pandemic

In line with protocols introduced by government towards the prevention and containment of the COVID-19 virus, the CHR suspended its public events, seminars, and general fellowship program until further notice.  We wish CHR fellows, students, artists, colleagues and friends, as well as our partners and funders in South Africa and across the world much strength and compassion in these difficult times.


Contact form

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal