Ndoni Khanyile

Actress, presenter and storyteller

Ndoni Khanyile has been described as a storyteller, as someone who has taken her skills across numerous visual media and honed them as she’s told stories about social injustice and brought awareness to thousands. Her qualifications and capabilities are numerous. Ndoni received a BA in theatre and performance from the University of Cape Town, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in broadcast journalism at Columbia University and has performed in some of South Africa’s biggest local productions. She has appeared in When We Were Black, Strike Back, Beaver Falls and Long Walk to Freedom.

“My career path began with a love of storytelling and I was lucky enough to experience the ritual of inganekwane (bedtime fables) with my grandmother during the school holidays,” says Khanyile. “This fuelled my already active imagination and I threw myself into school productions, writing poetry and all things make-believe. My career was further cemented when we studied protest theatre in my drama class at high school, and I was inspired by the notion that my love of story could meet my social convictions.”

The women in Khanyile’s life have inspired her, as they have had the biggest influence on her as a person, and her way of thinking. “A famous name who also stands out is definitely Maya Angelou,” says Khanyile. “I owe my love of words to her. I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings when I was about 11 and then started writing. Being published in a poetry collection compiled by O magazine alongside her was a huge moment for me as a young poet many years ago.”

Khanyile’s work is driven by her beliefs and commitments and her continued success is a testament to this passion. She has been able to perform on stage and screen both locally and internationally, write and be published with journalists she admires and she has plenty of plans for the future.

“In the first 10 years of my career I was fortunate enough to have some great opportunities to build and deepen my skills in key areas,” says Khanyile. “The next 10 are about using those skills to produce work which speaks directly to my social and political beliefs, especially the enormous work of making sense of, and beginning to heal, the trauma we carry from our collective past.” — Tamsin Oxford

Twitter: @NdoniKhanyile