The Company

Meet the cast of Zina & the Songbird 2017

Luvuyo Yanta
Luvuyo Yanta is a Grahamstown based performer. He has performed many times in shows at the National Arts Festival including ‘Blood Stream’ and ‘The Scorpion’, ‘Exhibit A’ and 'Hoss'. Other highlights include working for Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company as a performer/facilitator. He has worked with award-winning directors such as Rob Murray, Brett Bailey, Janet Buckland and Andrew Buckland. He has also directed commissioned works for Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company and Rhodes University, as well as regular collaborations with Prof Alex Sutherland on a range of community projects. Luvuyo is currently teaching Voice and Speech, and Theatre Making.

Ntomboxolo (Nox) Donyeli 
Assistant Director
Nox Donyeli has been involved in the theatre industry for over 16 years. She trained as a theatre performer with BunFight HQ Acting School for 2 years, did drama courses at Rhodes and worked with Third World Bunfight for 5 years, directed by Brett Bailey and performed nationally and internationally. She works with Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company as performer and facilitator, and performed with Andrew Buckland and Beki Mkwane in 'Makana', directed by Andrew Buckland. She was former director of Elesen Theatre Group, which won the Best Production award with 'Split', at the CACADU Arts and Culture Competition. She directed ‘Ilizwi’, a musical that performed at the National Arts Festival, as well as the Knysna Festival.

Masixole Jali 
Masixole is a 20 year old Grahamstown resident who started performing/creating theatre in 2010. He was nominated in 2013 for best senior actor while working with the Makana Drama Development Festival (MDDF) at Rhodes University. In 2015, Masixole started performing with Uyabona Ke Theatre Company. Masixole’s recent productions and achievements includes performances of 'Waterline' and 'Falling off the Horn', which both performed at the National Arts Festival in 2016 and won a Standard Bank Ovation Award. Currently Masixole works as a Stage-manager and Sound Technician for Via Kasi Movers Theatre Company. 

Nyakonzima Tsana 
Nyakonzima, who is a Grahamstown resident, has worked with the First Physical Theatre Company and was trained as a dancer while working with this company between 2003 – 2005. In 2006, Nyakonzima worked with the Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company as a company manager. These opportunities have allowed Nyakonzima to become a facilitator of theatre workshops ran at various provincial and national Schools Festivals from 2005 – 2009 and again in 2016. Throughout his career Nyakonzima has been able to be involved in many different projects including his work with a PHD student from Oxford University, London. As well as his work with the Pathology Scientific Trust as a performer, he has also co-founded the project ‘Beneath the Skin’ which has and continues to work with Scifest since 2009. Nyakonzima has also been involved in various productions; including 'Ndiyindoda/ I am a Man', by Spinal Trust, 'Waterline' and 'Falling off the Horn' (which won a Standard Bank Ovation Award in 2016).

Anele Heshu
Anele Heshu was born in Grahamstown where he currently resides. After high school, he decided to pursue a career in Drama. Heshu has worked as an actor for Elesen Productions, Blue Sky Productions as well as Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company. He has worked with Andrew Buckland, Nox Donyeli, Kyla Davis and Luvuyo Yanta. Heshu has performed for ‘Uyabona Ke’ company, working with Rob Murray and Sam Pennington in ‘Waterline’, which won a Standard Bank Ovation Award in 2016 National Arts Festival.

Siyabonga Bawuti
Siyabonga Bawuti was born in East London and has been a resident of Grahamstown since 2002. He started drama in high school under the late Steader Nkwinti. He worked with a drama group called 'Bantu Bonke', which won the Makana Drama Development Festival in 2008. Siyabonga is part of the Via Kasi Movers, a local drama and dance group.

Ayanda Mtwalo
Born and bred in Grahamstown, Ayanda started acting in prison under the guidance of Professor Alex Sutherland’s theatre intervention and rehabilitation weekly workshops in the Waainek Grahamstown prison. He has received numerous awards for his productions and acting at the annual Makana Drama Development Festival, hosted by Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company. He is currently a drama school facilitator under Ubom! and runs his own theatre organization based in the community.

andipha Mlati
Nandipha is a 3rd year student, majoring in Economics and Drama at The University currently known as Rhodes. Nandipha specialized in acting and directing within her drama major and had participated in multiple productions in the department including 'Missing' at the 2016 Young Directors Season and the 2015 departmental production 'Afronauts'. This will be Nandipha's second year as a National Arts Festival performer, and she will be performing in Thembela Madliki's 'Bayephi' and Natural Caffeinated-improv comedy group. Nandipha is excited to be in 'Zina and the Songbird' as it uses singing, acting and physical performance in an exciting way.
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