Samuel Ravengai

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Samuel Ravengai (1970–) is a performer trainer, director, theatre maker and academic.



Born Samuel Ravengai in the Midlands Province, in Mberengwa District in Zimbabwe on 15 October, 1970. He completed his schooling at Chegato High School, where he read arts subjects, joining a Drama Club run under the auspices of Agriculture Society. He distinguished himself as "Macbeth" in the school production of William Shakespeare's play in 1988.

He graduated from the University of Zimbabwe[1] with a BA (Theatre and English) in 1994 and BA Honours in Theatre Arts in 1995. He then went to the University of Cape Town, graduating with a Master’s in Theatre and Performance in 2002 and PhD in Theatre and Performance in 2012.

Between 1992 and 1995 and 2002 and 2007 he taught and did theatre work as actor and director for the University of Zimbabwe and various companies in Zimbabwe while continuing his studies in South Africa, where the coursework included some acting and directing in Cape Town. In 2014 he joined the University of the Witwatersrand as lecturer and he would become an Associate Professor and head the Department of Theatre and Performance between 2016 and 2020, after which he was made Head of Graduate Studies at the Wits School of Arts and in 2023 appointed Assistant Dean Graduate Studies: Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He is the current co-Editor of the South African Theatre Journal, an Editorial Board member for Palgrave Macmillan's series on Performance and Migration and an Editorial Board member for the Imbizo Journal of Literary Studies (UNISA Press).

Book publications include co-author of Theatre from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe (published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2021) and author of Decolonizing African Theatre, an upcoming publication deriving from a research project called Afroscenology, that explores theories of African and Diasporic aesthetics, based on theatrical practice across several years.

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

As actor

As a student at the University of Zimbabwe he played "Mr. Rawlings" in The Darkness of Our Light (1992) and "Dr Barnes" in Eugene O;Neill's Waiting for Lefty (1994), both plays directed by Robert McLaren (Robert Mshengu Kavanagh). In 1995 he appeared in two plays directed by Fani Kayode Omoregie, Hopes of the Living Dead (as "Nweke") and Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again (as a journalist).

As stage director

In Harare he directed a large number of stage plays between 2004 and 2012, working with students at the University of Zimbabwe and the Theory X Theatre Company, for institutions like Rooftop Promotions, the Harare Repertory Theatre, the Savannah Arts Trust and the International Festival of the Arts.

Works directed have included Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller), The Dilemma of a Ghost (Ata Aidoo), Waiting for Godot (Samuel Beckett), Antigone (Jean Anouilh), One for the Road (Harold Pinter), Anatol by Arthur Schnitzler, The Lion and the Jewel (Wole Soyinka), Decades of Terror (Daniel Maphosa), Hill View (Tawanda Kanengoni), Muramu (Stephen Chifunyise),

As actor, writer and director for Television

As a TV actor he played "Aaron" in Garikayi, directed by Arnold Shoko and aired on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation TV in 1995.

For two years (1997-1998) he was the producer/director of Munhumutapa African Broadcasting Corporation (MABC) Television.

He wrote and directed a documentary film commissioned by SIRDC for ZTV entitled, Food Fair 2005.

Between 2004 and 2007 he was the Associate Director and Consultant Script Editor for Studio 263(a prime-time daily soap opera, 2004 to 2007), which was broadcast on Mnet-Africa Magic, Zambia NBC and the British Channel OBTV. He was Consultant Script Editor for, Studio 263, for the period 2004 – 2007

Consultancy/Technical/Professional Reports

Publications include:

2002. Report on the Operations of ZBC’s Productions Strategic Business Unit. For Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBCTV): Harare.

2008. Political Theatre under Threat: The Impact of POSA, AIPPA and Censorship on Theatre Making in Zimbabwe. For Savannah Trust: Harare

2012. World Bank. Short term Consultant with PREM Unit. Editorial work

2012. Giving Voice to the Artists: The Impact of Current Cultural Policy on Zimbabwean Arts. For Arterial Network-Zimbabwe

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

As director

2001. Wrote and directed Trauma Centre in the Little Theatre, University of Cape Town.

2000. Wrote and directed On the Brink in The Playroom, University of Cape Town.

2014. Directed No Good Friday by Athol Fugard in the Wits Downstairs Theatre, with Wits BA Dramatic Art students.

2015. Directed Vumani Oedipus, adapted from Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex in the Barney Simon Theatre, with Wits and Market Lab students.

2017. Directed Marechera Sketches, based on Dambudzo Marechera's The Alley and Killwatch, Wits Main Theatre, with Wits students.

As performer

2001. Played "Philemon" in The Suit, directed by Chris Weare

Editorial positions

2021- Co-Editor South African Theatre Journal

2022- Editorial Board member, Palgrave Macmillan's series on Performance and Migration

2022- Editorial Board member, Imbizo Journal of Literary Studies. UNISA Press

Awards and recognition

2010-11. Awarded the UCT International Scholarship

2010. Awarded the UCT Research Associateship

2009-10. IFTR/FIRT Award (Lisbon and Munich)

2010. Victoria League English Speech Award

2009, 11. Rosalie Van de Gucht Award

2010-11. Canon Collins Ros Moger/Terry Furlong Award


CV provided by Samuel Ravengai, 30 January, 2023.

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