2004• Performing Arts

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Thembi Nyandeni’s thespian and choreographic experience embrace both stage and screen.

Thembi began her dance career in 1975, as one of the original cast members of Bertha Egnos’ IPI NTOMBI, which toured Nigeria, Israel, Ghana, Great Britain, Ireland, America, New Zealand, Scandinavia, France, Germany.

The 1980s saw her furthering her career in a variety of traditional African musical productions, including the role of choreographer, vocalist and lead dancer for the internationally acclaimed Amampondo, and as a vocalist and dancer in Hugh Masekela’s Sekunjalo tour. Performing for Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday celebrations, as well as across Europe and in Hong Kong, Thembi received a Best Dancer Award in 1988 in Bournemouth, England.

From the late 1980s Thembi appeared in many film and television roles including the documentary Teens on A Tightrope, for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Award). Screen credits include local television productions, international feature films and performances at numerous Arts Festivals, including the Houston International Festival.

Thembi has also been involved in scriptwriting for television, research for educational and children’s programs; and has conducted research for Population Development. Thembi has also been involved in cultural exchange events between South Africa and China, the Seychelles and Saudi Arabia.

In 1992, Thembi and Todd Twala created the show, BAOBAB. This was the forerunner to UMOJA, which came to fruition in the year 2001. Thembi received a Best Costume Design Award for UMOJA. The show won the prestigious First National Bank VITA AWARD for Best Musical Production and the First National Bank VITA AWARD for Best Review in 2001.

Thembi’s community upliftment activities extend towards disadvantaged youngsters in the community. She co-ordinates dance classes for neighborhood youth and has been involved in voluntary fund raising for the Children’s Fund.