Nat Ramabulana


I first saw Nat Ramabulana in 2009 at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in the production Hayani, in which he co-starred with his friend Athandwa Kani. At that point Ramabulana had barely left Wits University, where he had studied drama. Watching student productions usually requires considerable fortitude and many painkillers and I find I do it more out of duty than anything else. But that production, an evocation of their childhoods, was a pleasant surprise. It was a mature work in which they slipped in and out of several characters, reminiscing with dexterity and poise. Since that student performance Ramabulana has been attracting attention and this year won a Best Supporting Actor Naledi for his role in Craig Higginson's The Girl in the Yellow Dress. Born in 1983, Ramabulana was educated at various Johannesburg schools before enrolling at Wits. He is effusive in his praise for his benefactress, Ms Hill, and His hero is director and actor John Kani, a man he describes as "a phenomenon� his parents, who paid Model C school fees from their wages as domestic workers who "completely defied the odds�. It seems Ramabulana might be following his lead. � Percy Zvomuya

Twitter: @natramabulana