Themba Mbuli

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Themba Mbuli (1987?-2021) was a dancer, choreographer and stage performer

Also referred to as Themba "Dredz" Mbuli


Born in Zola in Soweto, and after the death of his mother in a car accident, he and his siblings were raised by his grandmother.

Introduced to theatre while at school, he joined the Zola Musical Drama youth theatre company in 2003, where he received initial training. In 2006 he was performing with the community arts project, Khulumani Support Group, where he was spotted by a Swedish professional Kent Ekberg and David April of Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM), which led to his receiving formal dance training at MIDM. From this sound basis he went on to become an influential professional dancer/choreographer in the South African performing arts scene.

Themba Mbuli passed away unexpectedly on 18 January, 2021.

Contribution to South African theatre, film, media and performance

His career really took off as he became a member of the Izalo Dance and Theatre Company in 2008, then worked full-time for MIDM as dancer/choreographer (2009-2010) and in 2011 joined the Theatre Talipot in Reunion. In 2012 he started his solo career , with his piece Dark Cell, which he performed not only at local festivals, but internationally in Argentina, England, The Netherlands, Sweden, Uganda, Wales and Zimbabwe.

He was also deeply involved with projects like the Broken Borders Arts Project and New Beginning Theatre Production and in 2014 co-founded the Unmute Dance Company with Nadine Mackenzie, Mpotseng Shuping and Andile Vellem, under the auspices of Artscape. He is also an initiator of the inclusive arts festival called Unmute ArtsAbility Festival, . that he has been co-curating in Cape Town since 2014.

In 2016 he appeared in the Swedish-South African collaborative project Adagio for a Hacked Life at the Baxter Theatre and National Arts Festival, and received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance for the same year.

Key works choreographed/directed since 2008 include

Dark City (2008, 2010 & 2018), Robot Citizen (2013), Trapped (2015), Spirit of the Bush (2017), Memory Box (2018), Trapped Men (2019), Sold Too Dark Cell (solo, 2012 - 2019), Ashed (2015 - 2019), Old (2016 - 2017), Autho(r)ise (2017 - 2018), Dark Cell (trio, 2018 - 2019), The Boat (2019), 21 Questions (2019) and Bloodbath (2019).


Christiaan Boonzaier. 2021. Geliefde Danser Sterf, Die Burger, Donderdag 21 Januarie: p.8.

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