Buhle Ngaba

Actress and writer

Buhle Ngaba (25) is working to develop storytelling among underprivileged young girls through her writing and her non-profit organisation, KaMatla Productions.

Ngaba created KaMatla to develop the arts, and it has worked with the Black Professional Scholarship Fund and legal experts to run drama workshops about the law for children of the Amazing Grace Children’s Home in Eickenhof, Johannesburg. She is also working with the Ruth Mompati Foundation to stage similar workshops in the Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district.

Her first novel, The Girl Without A Sound, was written to empower and inspire young black girls and remind them that their voices deserve to be heard. She wrote the story in defiance of a racist and patriarchal society where black female bodies are disempowered and dismissed, and as a call to action for girls and boys of colour to use their voices to shape their lives.

The book was released online as a free download in February and achieved almost 3 000 downloads in the first week.

Ngaba is best known as the actress who played Mrs Lyons in the hit musical Blood Brothers. She also acted in Missing and was nominated as the Best Supporting Actress in both the Fleur du Cap and Naledi Theatre Awards.

Ngaba studied acting and contemporary performance at Rhodes University and processes of performance at the University of Leeds. While she was in the UK, she helped a group called Wast — for women seeking asylum in the UK — to create a piece of theatre for a refugee conference.

Later as a member of Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company she performed in several productions at the National Arts Festival and across the country. She has also worked with the Kodumela Bokamoso organisation to create workshop programmes for the youth of Limpopo, to encourage innovation in social development.

Now she is writing a script of her own that she will also star in, about the life of her great aunt, Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, one of the first women in Umkhonto we Sizwe. — Lesley Stones

Twitter: @BuhleNgaba