South African Cast & Musicians

Original Cast

Quanita Adams

Quanita studied at the University of Cape Town, where she was nominated for a Fleur du Cap award for Most Promising Student. She has since gone on to win Fleur du Cap awards for Best Actress for both Athol Fugard’s Valley Song and for Nadia David’s acclaimed one-woman show, At Her Feet, which deals with the experiences of Muslim women in South Africa. She also acted in For Colored Girls… which won the Fleur du Cap for Best Ensemble. Other roles have included parts in Nadia David’s Cissie, Twaalfde Nag, Jocasta Rising, Wit, and Boney M – On Broadway.  She has starred in two feature films, Cape of Good Hope and Forgiveness, for which she won the inaugural Golden Horn Award for Best Actress in a Feature Film. Television work includes the science-fiction thriller, called Orion, E.R. and Villa Rosa. She made her debut as a director on Old Friends, working with Jenny Stead and Anton Luitingh.

Nick Boraine

Nick graduated from the Wits School of Dramatic Art in ’94 Cum Laude and with the Repertory Player’s Award for most promising actor. Since then he has won Vita awards for Shopping and Fucking (Best Supporting Actor), Popcorn (Best Actor), Birdy (Best Actor) and The Rocky Horror Show (Best Musical Actor). Nick also wrote and starred in the one-man show called SIC, for which he was nominated for a best actor Vita. SIC also won an “Excellence in Performance” Award at the New York International Fringe Festival. He collaborated and acted in Two for the Price of One, directed by James Cunningham and Helen Iskander. On TV Nick has appeared in Zero Tolerance II, Soul City, Scouts African Adventure and Hallmark’s King Solomon’s Mines. Film credits include I Dreamed of Africa, Promised Land, Borderline, Berserker, The Queens Messenger, Slash, Dead End, The African Story and In My Country.

Andrew Buckland

Andrew is a multiple-award winning actor, whose solo and two-hander performances in the genre of physical theatre, have toured extensively nationally and internationally. He is known for his groundbreaking, original work, including The Ugly Noo Noo, Bloodstream, Fuse, The Well-Being, Feedback and Between the Teeth, which has won him numerous awards for Best New Original Script, and Best Performance. He has also directed extensively, most recently Hero with Craig Morris. He is an Associate Professor in Drama at Rhodes University. He is currently performing the role of Sergeant Pepper in Cirque de Soleil’s Love, running in Las Vegas.

Sibulele Gcilitshana

Armed with a National Diploma in Musical Theatre from the Pretoria Technikon in 2002, Sibulele Gcilitshana combines acting, dancing and singing talent. She was nominated for an FNB Vita Award for Best New Actress in 2002 for The Stadium.  Sibulele has graced the stage in numerous performances including Biko, Blow the Whistle, the Bells of Amesfoort for Phyllis Klotz and Sibikwa, and Songs and Tales for Joyce Levinsohn. Other productions include Dark City for Magi Williams and educational theatre pieces such as Don’t Think So for ARREPP and Walking Tall for PAST. Sibulele has also appeared on television in Generations, Your Moves, Soul City, and most recently took a lead role in Society. She was featured as a solo singer on Junior Sokhela’s album.

Bongani Gumede

Bongani has been involved with nationwide outreach through the Market Theatre Laboratory, and his involvements as a community field worker and workshop facilitator have resulted in award-winning plays such as Maluju Zulu and L.A.T.E. As a co-founder of Zanendaba Storytelling Company with Gcina Mhlope, he has been instrumental in popularizing and reinventing for young audiences the ancient art of African storytelling.  He has worked as a dialect coach on international movies such as Stander and Beat the Drum, as well as appearing in the Jackie Chan film, Who Am I.  His television work includes Yizo Yizo 3, Bra Solly’s Kitchen and currently, the popular series, Mzansi.

Robert Koen

Robert Koen is a young actor with an added passion for music, puppetry and physical theatre. He has been involved in educational theatre, touring schools all over South Africa as well as corporate theatre, writing, cabaret and musical theatre. He appeared in David Kramer’s Die Ballade van Koos Sas, Graeme Weir’s cantata version of his original a capella musical, Noah and in Karen Jeynes’ Is Almal Dan f*!#@ volmaak? At the KKNK (Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees), he was nominated for “The Kanna Award” for his role in Die Hangkas Haas, a cabaret by Hennie van Greunen. 

Jeroen Kranenburg

Jeroen graduated from UCT with a Performers Diploma in Speech and Drama in 1978. After a short spell with PACT Playwork, he emigrated to Holland. He was artistic director of Provadja Theatre in Alkmar, North Holland for three years and resident director at Dom Mladih Theatre, Sarajevo. As a freelance actor, he performed all over Europe with twenty different theatre groups, working in five languages and performing at all the major festivals on the continent. In 1995 he returned to South Africa and has since worked on the following productions: Amadeus, Twaalfde Nag, Dancing at Lughnasa, Hamlet, Now Now Witnesses, Othello, Darkle, Kringe in ‘n Bos, Buckingham Palace District Six, Taming of the Shrew, As you like it, Work is the Curse of the Drinking Classes, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, Madman and Underground Man. Film and television work includes Charlie, Proteus, Sheltering Wings, Scoop Scoombie, African Odyssey, Sinbad, Pirates of the Plain, Cape of Good Hope II, Waiting Fish, Sexy Girls and On the Rocks. Jeroen is also active in Industrial, Corporate and Educational Theatre, as well as running the Cape Comedy Company, which aims to create innovative productions that will entertain people across social and cultural barriers in South Africa.

Sandile Matsheni

Sandile Matsheni matriculated from Meadowlands High School in 1999 and subsequently attended classes in performance at Mzini Dramatic Art in Soweto. He made his theatrical debut the following year in Trouble in my House directed by Sibusiso Mhlongo. He continued his theater career under the direction of Duma Mnembe in Calamity, Enough is Enough, and They Must be Sick; the latter two garnering him with Best Actor Awards at the National Stop Crime Drama Festival in South Africa. He took a starring role in Tall Horse, by the Handspring Puppet Company and Sogolon Puppet troupe, which toured extensively. More recently, he has been playing the role of Orestes in Yael Farber’s groundbreaking play, Molora, which has toured to Japan, Europe and the USA to critical acclaim.

Fana Mokoena

Fana has most recently apppeared in a supporting role as General Bizimungo in the Oscar-nominated film, Hotel Rwanda, directed by Terry George. Other film apppearances include Jump The Gun, directed by Les Blaire, Inside, In My Country and The Spear. On television, he is most well known as Jaws Bengu, in The Lab, for which he won Best Actor in a Drama. He played Dr Mandla Sithole in Generations, but is also remembered for his roles in Yizo Yizo (for which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor), The Line for which he won Best Actor in a TV drama and Going Up II and III.  He has played supporting roles in Crossing the Line, Heal Side (Pilot), Egoli, Flat 27, Khululeka II, The Line and 52 Regent Street. His theatre work includes The Good Woman of Sharkville and The Cherry Orchard, both in the UK, as well as numerous stage performances in South Africa, including Dizzy Heights, Julius Caesar, and A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.

Thembi Mtshali-Jones

Multi-talented Thembi Mtshali-Jones is recognised as one of South Africa’s most celebrated artists, as a singer, actress, and playwright. Her theatre credits include Cissie, Marabi, Mabatha, and Ipi Tombi, which appeared on the West End and Broadway. She co-wrote and starred in Eden and Other Places and Woman of Africa at the Market Theatre with Barney Simon. She co-wrote with Gcina Mhlophe and Maralin Vanrenen and starred in Have You Seen Zandile which won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1988. She co-wrote and starred in A Woman In Waiting, a one-woman play based on her life story co-written and directed by Yael Farber, which won numerous awards including a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000. In 2001 the play had a run on the West End at London’s New Ambassador Theatre. In 2004 she wrote and starred in Gogo and Big Sister, a Radio Drama for BBC Radio 4. It was chosen as Play of the Week by BBC World Service, and broadcast globally to an estimated audience of 45 million. Her TV credits include It’s Good It’s Nice, Stokvel, Shooting Stars, Madam & Eve, Generations and Backstage. Stokvel was nominated for Switzerlands Rose D’Or and an Emmy for Best International Comedy Award. She was a lead actress in the film Mapantsula, which won the best new film at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1988, and also appeared in The Wooden Camera (which won a Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival), In My Country and Cape of Good Hope. As a singer she has worked with Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Dizzie Gillespie and African Jazz Pioneers. She has recorded three albums in her own name, and recorded as lead vocalist with Sipho Gumede’s band Peace and the African Jazz Pioneers, on both occasions making one album.

Jenny Stead

Jenny Stead obtained her honours degree in drama from the University of Stellenbosch in 1999, and was nominated for a Fleur Du Cap award for the most promising student for her role as Abigail in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Straight out of university she landed a role in Fiona Coyne’s smash hit comedy Glass Roots which won her a Vita award for Best Performance by a New Actor for her role. Jenny has since played a variety of characters, among her favourites being Reagan in King Lear, Ezmarelda in Crossing and Marjorie in Snowman. She recently won the 2004 Fleur du Cap Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Annie in Reza de Wet’s Breathing In. Jenny has co-created several cabaret and revue shows including 3D - On Broadway, It’s a Kock Up and Siman and Girlfunkel. Her television work includes appearances on several South African sitcoms including SOS, Big Okes and That London Guy as well as on the popular BBC show, Cavegirl. She recently played Ophelia in Steven Berkoff’s latest play The Secret Love Life of Ophelia, and Brooke in the much-loved farce, Noises Off.

Rotating Tour Actors

Baby Cele

Baby Cele is an award-winning stage, TV and film actress. Mbongeni Ngema’s Sarafina kick-started her career with a tour to the USA. In 1998, Baby received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in Aubrey Sekhabi’s Not With My Gun. Later, she won a Vita Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for The Game and in 1996 she won an All Africa Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her role in Les Blair’s film Jump the Gun. More recently she performed in the stage play Cards, by Paul Mpumelelo Grootboom, to rave reviews. For the last couple of years, Baby has been the leading lady on Backstage, a popular youth daily drama. 

Graham Clarke

Graham has enjoyed a long and multifaceted career, which has included productions across a range of media. His theatre work, includes musical productions such as Showboat, A Chorus Line, Westside Story and Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as plays like A Passionate Woman, Pale Natives and Simple Bloody Simon. His television appearances include: Interrogation Room, Charlie Jade, Jozi-H, Snitch, The Villagers, Egoli, One Man one Vote, Sinbad, Baragwanath, Solomons Treasure, Justice for All, Butterfly dreams, Tarzan, White Lioness, and many other German and French TV Series. He is also sought out as a film actor and has appeared in over 50 films, including Diamond Diver, Stars over Madiera, The Wild Geese, African Skies, Anna, Never say Die, Mandela & De Klerk, Naked Edge, and other German and French movies. Graham has done numerous voice recordings for Radio and TV, and has appeared on many Commercials, which have proved so popular as to be renewed. He has won the FNB Best Comedy Performance for a One Man Show called The Devil and Billy Markham (2002), and the FNB Vita Award for Best Supporting Actor in Scribble (2001).

Ashleigh Harvey

Ashleigh graduated from Wits University in 2005 with a BA in Dramatic Art. Under the direction of Malcolm Purkey, in 2003 and 2004 respectively, she played Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and Miranda in The Tempest. She also performed as a lead singer in Berlin to Broadway and played Ruth in Love, Crime and Johannesburg. Since graduating, Ashleigh has played Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a Witch in Macbeth; and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing. Other professional work includes Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis, Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit (Edith), The Rocky Horror Show in which she played Janet and Sophiatown at the Market theatre in which she played Ruth and for which she earned a Naledi nomination (directed by Malcolm Purkey). Her on-screen credits include the Heartlines film and Binnelanders. Ashleigh was a finalist for the Brett Goldin internship at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon. She is excited and privileged to be working with the Truth in Translation project.

Thembani Luzipho

Thembani Luzipho started out at New Africa Project, but has since worked for Third World Bunfight (Zombi; Imumbo Jumbo), Cape Heart Theatre Company (Buckingham Palace, District 6, S.O.S, Panic), Magnet Theatre: (Pump, Vlam 1 & 2), Jocasta Rising, directed by Carol Kaplan and Ufeziwe Okanye Inkohlakalo and Lanqum’inqatha, directed by Sizwe Msutu, both at Artscape. He has toured to the Barbican, London with Imumbu Jumbo and has toured Europe with Manyanani Workshop. He has also performed in London at the Africa ’95 Festival, in France at the Folklore Festival and in Canada at the Festival Mondial De Drummondville. His television credits include the role of Oom Dan in Shooting Stars, as well as roles on Divers Down, Going Up Again, Stokvel, Interrogation Room, The London Guy, Khululeka and Backstage. Film credits include Exclusive, directed by Michael Rudolph and Follow Your Heart. He has also done considerable Industrial Theatre.

Sizwe Msutu

Sizwe Msutu is a graduate of New Africa Theatre Project and has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. Theatre roles include Saturday Night at the Palace, Fireraisers, which was performed at the Baxter and in Switzerland, Madiba Magic and Vatmaar, both by Janice Honeyman, and numerous productions for Capab, which included Oudisie Cabaret, Die Troue, ‘N Skewe Sirkel, Merry Wives Of Windsor, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, Kinkels Inne Kabel, Julias Caesar and Othello. Sizwe has also been involved in various educational theatre projects such as the MTN Aids Show, and the Shell Aids Road Show, both for Take-Away Theatre. He served as the Co-Administrator for the Capab Educational Theatre. His Film and television roles, include Detective-Inspector Hlomla Mavuso on the popular Interrogation Room, Captain Nene on Shooting Stars, Gus on Stokvel, as well as roles in More Than Just a Game, Anner House, Divers Down, Goodbye Bafana (where he played Cyril Ramaposa), Going Up Again, Madam & Eve, Heaven, Khululeka, and the film based on Antjie Krog’s book Country Of My Skull, In My Country. He is also a sought-after radio actor for the SABC and has been heard on numerous radio dramas.

Andile Nebulane

Andile Nebulane trained at the University of Cape Town (Theatre and Performance Diploma), and at AFDA where he did an Acting for Camera course. His theatre work includes a workshop production in Canada, called Cape Town Project, Lara Foot Newton’s Reach, which toured to Sweden, Brothers In Blood by Mike van Graan, Things Are Bad Ijumpile Lendaba, directed by Thami Mbongo, Skelmstreke and Stoutgat Pasie, both directed by Sandra Temmingh. Other roles include Echo’s Of Our Footsteps, directed by Itumeleng Wa-Lehulere, The Best Man, directed by Karen Jeynes, Oedipus directed by Roy Sargeant and Dance with the Poor Man’s Daughter, directed by Basil Appolis. Andile’s film experience includes More Than Just A Game, directed by Junaid Ahmed, as well as roles in Waiting, Mug Shots, My Way, and other student and short films. He has appeared on television series such as Shooting Stars, Divers Down, ER and Interrogation Room. He has also done extensive corporate theatre work working with Dogdog Productions, Take Away Theatre, Fusion Works, The Win Win Group and Shoestring Productions. Radio work includes voiceovers and radio dramas for the SABC and BBC. 

Lionel Newton

Lionel was trained at UCT and has acted in over thirty plays for which he has won several awards. He has also acted in several movies including Les Blair’s feature for Channel 4, Jump The Gun for which he won the All African M-Net Award for Best Actor, Craig Freimond’s Gums and Noses, Ian Gabriel’s Forgiveness, John Boorman’s In My Country and Michael Raeburn’s Triomf. On stage, Lionel was seen in Hear and Now at the Baxter Theatre Centre which also travelled to Sweden as well as in Waiting For Godot for which he won a Best Actor Vita Award and To The End Of The World for BBC1. On television he was the notorious serial killer in Isidingo and was seen in Soul Buddyz and Crossing The Line and most recently he played himself in Sorted. He is known for his work off the mainstream, having collaborated in the early 90s with choreographer Robyn Orlin. In the last five years he has worked extensively with artist Andrew Buckland. Their most recent play was The Well Being, directed by Lara Foot Newton which played to critical acclaim. Newton has workshopped over seventeen new South African plays and has toured extensively internationally. He has jointly won the Scotsman Fringe First Award for Bloodstream with Andrew Buckland and back to back Best Supporting Actor Vita Awards for Feedback and The Well Being and was nominated for Best Leading Actor in Ottowa in 2004.

Sello Sebotsane

Sello Sebotsane went to Maxstibbe Waldorf School, where he was introduced to drama and trained by professional actors. He then developed his talent further at Pretoria Technikon (Tshwane University of Technology), where he won the Glass Crown Award for his performance in Woza Albert. Sello’s television appearances have included Isidingo, Stokvel, Backstage and Going Up Again. His film credits include Tarzan and Jock of the Bushveld. However, his real love is the stage, and he has performed in many productions, including Malcom Purkey’s Sophiatown, Lara Foot Newton’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Mncedisi Shabangu’s Cold Stone Jug. This is his third play to tour the world. The first was Brett Bailey’s Big Dada the Rise and fall of Idi Amin Dada. He also toured extensively with Greig Coetsee’s Happy Natives, for which he won a Naledi Award for Best Actor. He sees Truth in Translation as a gift from the Southern tip of Africa to the world.

Original Musicians

Franco Lesiba Magongwa: Bass Guitar

Franco began playing bass in 1997 and worked with the Roodeport Youth Orchestra for a short time. He studied music at the National School of the Arts for three years. He also founded an seven-piece band called the Kwani Experience, which has toured extensively in Europe and Africa, and was the 2004 winner of the “Totally Jazzed” Showcase sponsored by Standard Bank/Kaya FM. Kwani Experience has released a CD titled The Birth of the Mudaland Funk.

Ray Molefe: Percussion

Ray was a founding member of the group “Bayete”. In 1987, he joined Mbongeni Ngema and Hugh Masekela for the Broadway production of Sarafina, playing trumpet, flugle horn and percussion, and he also served as Musical Director until 1992. He did the same for all of Ngema’s productions and also produced and arranged the brass section until 2004. He also revamped the music of Ipi Tombi.

Sfiso Tshabalala: Keyboard

Sfiso started to play the piano at the age of fifteen. He received his music diploma from FUBA Academy of Music. He then worked with Elinda Productions for a year. He is currently teaching piano at the Beat of Africa School of Music where he is a musical director.

Rotating Tour Musicians

Ezbie Moilwa: Assistant Music Director / Bass Keyboard

Ezbie is a songwriter, composer, arranger, producer and keyboardist. He is Hugh Masekela’s keyboardist and has toured the world with him for the past eight years. He has written songs for Judith Sepuma, Hugh Masekela and Sibongile Khumalo, to name a few. His solo album will soon be released by Chissa Productions.

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