Gcina Mhlope (Author of An Africn Mother Christmas)
Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe born 24 October  is a South African anti-apartheid activist , actress, storyteller , poet, playwritter, director and author. Storytelling is a deeply traditional activity in Africa and Mhlophe is one of the few woman storytellers in a country dominated by males. She does her work through charismatic performances, working to preserve storytelling as a means of keeping history alive and encouraging South African children to read. She started her working life as a domestic servant, later working as a newsreader at the Press Trust and BBC Radio , then as a writer for Learn and Teach , a magazine for newly-literate people. She began to get a sense of the demand for stories while in Chicago in She performed at a library in a mostly-black neighbourhood, where an ever-growing audience kept inviting her back. Still, Mhlophe only began to think of storytelling as a career after meeting an Imbongi , one of the legendary poets of African folklore, and after encouragement by Mannie Manim , the then-director of the Market Theatre , Johannesburg.
Guest At the age of 21 she moved to Johannesburg where she worked as a housemaid, journalist and actress. She toured around Europe and North America acting in many different plays until she wrote her own in She was both director and leading actress for 'Have You seen Zandile? A short time after, she established the group Zanendaba Storytellers which holds a festival for storytellers every year. Mhlophe is one of the most well known South African artists.
Full name Nokugcina Mhlophe South African playwright, poet, short story writer, and children's writer. Mhlophe is an award-winning playwright, children's writer, stage and screen actress, storyteller, poet, and director. Her most famous drama, Have You Seen Zandile? Mhlophe is dedicated to preserving the art of storytelling, finding in the oral tradition a means of preserving the indigenous South African folktales, myths, worldviews, history, and values. With this goal in mind, she has established "Zanendaba" "Bring Me a Story" , a program that trains storytellers as professionals and provides them with avenues for performing, including in schools and other organizations. In addition to giving a voice to the often-silenced women who have experienced the oppressive systems of apartheid and their own patriarchal society, Zanendaba also serves to educate the country's youngsters, many of whom cannot read and have been separated from the histories of their own cultures by colonial institutions that were dismissive of and discouraged oral practices. From an early age she was profoundly influenced by an elderly aunt and her paternal grandmother, both of whom inspired her imagination and passed along their passion for storytelling.
Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe was born in and is well-known for her roles as a freedom fighter, activist, actress, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author. Storytelling is famously a deeply traditional activity in Africa, and Gcina does exceptionally well.
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Story Sessions #4 Gcina Mhlophe
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. In her CD and book of Nozincwadi Mother of Books was produced as part of her nationwide reading road show to South African rural schools. Her work has contributed to preserving storytelling as a means of keeping history alive and has encouraged South African children to read. Her most recent publication was The Singing Chameleon Praise poem performed in in honour of Nokukhanya Luthuli, widow of Chief Albert Luthuli - past president of the ANC in the '50s and Nobel Peace Prize winner in If the moon were to shine tonight To light up my face and show off my proud form With beads around my neck and shells in my hair And a soft easy flowing dress with the colours of Africa If I were to stand on top of a hill And raise my voice in praise Of the women of my country Who have worked throughout their lives Not for themselves, but for the very life of all Africans Who would I sing my praises to? I could quote all the names Yes, but where do I begin?!