Duma Mnembe

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Duma Mnembe (1960-). Actor, drama teacher.

Also known as Dumakude Mnembe.


Born in Mzimhlophe, Mnembe first appeared in a school drama, Crime In Soweto, while a pupil at the Orlando High School. He then joined Gibson Kente Productions and went on to appear in productions such as How Long? and Sekunjalo.

In 1977 Mnembe, Peter Se-Phuma, Darlington Michaels, Linda Sehezo, Nomazizi Molose and the late Mcintosh Khoaele had to enter South Africa illegally from neighbouring Lesotho after being tipped that special branch police were waiting for them at the border gate after they had wrapped up their tour with a production called Survival.

In 1987 Mnembe and his fellow cast members wcre detained for three months for raising fists their during a performance. During the three months they were not allowed visitors.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

He had a hand in directing when he worked on Selaelo Maredi's Blackage.

In 1991/1992? Dumakude Mnembe, formed his own theatre company, Emzini Dramatic Arts Society.

In 1992, while on tour in Free State performing in the play Sekunjalo, he was recruited hy the PACOFS as a permanent actor.

While in the Free State he conducted workshops in rural areas.

He has appeared on stage in productions of Boklied (as Adam, 1998), Luc, Bessie Head’s Maru, Smallholding (as Gideon, PACOFS 1994), Verste Grens (PACOFS 1993, Om 'n Jakkalsbessie, Job, The Good Woman of Sharkville, Julian Seleke Mokoto’s Shattered Dreams (Laager 2004).

Mnembe also gave stunning performances on television dramas such as Mongezi, Hlaba Kwabafileyo and Velaphi.

He had a role in Gavin Hood’s film A Reasonable Man in 1999.

Mzini Dramatic Arts production of Revival, staged at the 2012 National Arts Festival (flyer) NELM Location: [Collection: NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL]: 2012. 448. 2. 9

He started a project with longtime friend and fellow actor the late Dinkie Motsemme in developing young acting talent in the townships, later joined by Nomsa Xaba, working at the centre based in Mzimhlophe, Soweto.

Awards, etc.

Amstel Pick of the Fringe runner up (award year 1988) Ababhemi conceived by Darlington T. Michaels and Duma Mnembe (merit).

Nominated Vita Award (Free State region) 1995 for his role in Job (best actor).


IMDb [1].

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Sowetan, 30 June 2000.

Andile Xaba. 2021. 'Collective memory and the construction of a historical narrative, analysis and interpretation of selected Soweto-based community plays (1984–1994)'. Unpublished PhD thesis.

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