Thami Cele

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Thami Cele (1952-2012) was an actor.

Also known as Thami "Mshefane" Cele.


Born in Clermont Township near Pinetown, Natal, om July 1952, he started school there then went to Ohlango High School. He started a course in social work at the University of Zululand, but dropped out in 1974 to become a postal clerk in Clermont for a while.

He left the post office to become an actor in the mid 1970s, initially working with a number of shows in Natal, interalia working with Mbongeni Ngema and the Gibson Kente company, then moving to Johannesburg in 1979 to concentrate on stage and film work for a while. He then returned to Natal, to work as quality controller/inspector at Aserma in New Germany.

In 1981 he moved back to Johannesburg, joined the Dhlomo Theatre as actor and stage manager, also doing some film and TV work. In 1983 he joined Committed Artists as one of the cast members of Asinamali.

He passed away in January 2012.

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

His early theatre work in the Durban region included roles in Chief Mamba, Too Harsh, Isigcino and Mkabayi Jama

His first period in Johannesburg saw him in pieces by Gibson Kente and the production of Ipi Tombi, while his second period began with pieces like The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (as an actor) and New Song (as assistant stage manager) at the Dhlomo Theatre.

Having become a member of Committed Artists in 1983-1984, where he helped develop and became a cast member of Asinamali by Mbongeni Ngema, going on to perform it all over the world, returning to Durban to continue his career there, inter alia also mentoring young artists in the Clermont area of Natal.


Market Theatre programme for Asinamali, 1985.

Death of Thami Cele, ArtSmart, Wednesday, 25 January, 2012. [1].

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