Gcina Mhlophe (1959 – ) Born in Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal, Mhlophe now lives in Durban. Gcina Mhlophe has been writing and performing on stage and screen for over 20 years. She has written many children’s books as well as adult audience poetry, short stories and plays. She produced and performed on a CD for children with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. She has written music for the SABC TV series Gcina & Friends where she performed her own stories for television audiences.
Gcina Mhlophe-Becker is South Africa’s favourite storyteller.
Storytelling has become a popular business medium for conferences and seminars and Gcina is a master at creating stories to complement business themes.
Gcina maintains storytelling is the information technology of yesteryear. “For as long as there have been people in the world, there have been stories – long before all the great respectable sciences were known to us”.
Poet, playwright, performer and South Africa’s favourite storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe has been writing and performing on stage and screen for the past 23 years. Encouraged during her childhood by her grandmother to let her imagination run wild, Gcina started writing and telling her stories. She produced and performed in the collaboration CD for children with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 1993, and has written the music and stories for the SABC TV series, Gcina & Friends. In 2000 she released an award-winning storytelling CD entitled Fudukazi’s Magic for German audiences, which was also produced for video in collaboration with Anant Singh of VideoVision Entertainment.
In 2001 her CD and book, Nozincwadi Mother of Books, was produced as part of her nationwide reading road show to South African rural schools. Gcina feels that the well-known traditional tales of Africa have worldwide appeal, as they recur in different versions in many other parts of the world. Gcina’s writings have been translated into German, French, Italian, Swahili and Japanese.
Her honours include:
- BBC Africa Service Award for Radio Drama,
- The Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Festival,
- Joseph Jefferson Award in Chicago,
- OBBIE in New York, and
- Honorary Doctorates from London Open University and University of Natal.
- Sony Award for Best Acresss, Britain
The play, Have You Seen Zandile? was first performed at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, in 1986, with Gcina as Zandile. She was awarded the Sony Award when the play was performed there as a Radio drama for BBC Africa Service. In Love Child, a fascinating retrospective collection of stories, Gcina shares her personal journey through the social and political landscapes of the 1980s.