Nomsa Nene

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Nomsa Nene (1957-). Actress on stage, film and television, Director, Singer, Dancer, Actor, Puppeteer, Presenter and Producer.

Biography

She was married to Peter Se-Puma until their separation in 1990. Since 2001 she was one of the top-selling agents at Wendy Machanik Properties (WMP) until she opened her own company, Nomsa Nene Properties, in 2011.

Training

Career

Started in showbusiness when she auditioned for a television commercial at the age of six. She started her career with Gibson Kente.

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

She starred in the ME nobody knows, for The Company at the Market Theatre in 1977. Benjy Francis directed and it also starred Leslie Mongezi, Leonie Hofmeyr, Barrie Shah and Jonathan Taylor.

In 1979 she was cast in the lead role of the house maid Poppie in PACOFS’s original Afrikaans stage version of Elsa Joubert’s influential novel Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena (lit: “The wandering years of Poppie Nongena”, but formally translated and published as The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena, 19**). She starred in Elsa Joubert’s Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena, directed by Hilary Blecher for The Company at the Market Theatre in August 1980. She went on to portray this role in all the subsequent productions (the PACT production in 19**, the English production at the Market Theatre in 198* and its New York season, etc.) She starred in PACT’s revival of Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena which was directed by Marius Weyers in August 1983 at the State Theatre and then the Alexander Theatre. In 1984 she starred in Marius Weyers's production of the English version at the Market Theatre for which she won the Computicket award. PACT Drama production of Poppie, based on Elsa Joubert's 'Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena', adapted by Sandra Kotzé; and Elsa Joubert, and produced in 1984, directed by Marius Weyers, with Nomsa Nene and Peter Se-Puma in the cast. Photographs taken during the Market Theatre production of "Poppie Nongema": Identified in the photographs are: Aubrey Radebe, Nomsa Nene, Tembsie Times, Whinney-Isaiah Setimo, Arthur Masekwameng, Peter Se-puma, Temba Nyathi and Carolyn Barkhuizen.

Productions for PACT included Strider: The Story of a Horse (1987), Women of Troy (1987), A Lad 'n a Lamp (1988), The Martian Chronicles (1988), The Blacks (NAF 1989), Angel in a Dark Room (1990), Koning Lear (1990), Sleeping Beauty (1990), Koning Ubu (1991), Jacques and his Master (1991), Death and the King's Horseman (1992).

She has also appeared in Die Van Aardes van Grootoor (Market Theatre 1978-1979), There's No Sugar Left (1979 or 1980), Call Me Woman (Market Theatre 1979), Stepping Out (Pieter Toerien 1985), Let the Spear Fit the Wound (Pot Pourri Festival 1991), Homeland (1992), My Children!, My Africa! (PACOFS 1993), as the San woman in Bessie Head's Maru (1993), The Good Woman of Sharkville (NAF 1996), Ways of Dying 1999, Symbols of Sex and State (2000), Romeo and Juliet (Maynardville 2000).

She was the first black woman to direct a play at the Market Theatre's Laager, when she directed Hamba Dompas in January 1986 with the author (Peter Se-Puma) and John Ledwaba.

She moved on to film and TV work as well. In 2000 she joined Pieter-Dirk Uys to play Dora in a TV series entitled Going Down Gorgeous, and in the same year became Zaza Gabu in the outragious breakfast time programme The Toasty Show, with Bill Flynn. Zama-Zama presenter.

Documentary film Country Lovers with screenplay by Nadine Gordimer, 1982.

Julia in the TV1 soap opera, Die Glaskasteel,

Awards

Nomsa Nene's twenty year career is nothing short of phenonemal. With a string of feature film, television and theatre credits to her name, she has won significant awards including an OB [Off Broadway] award for her role as Poppie in Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena.

She won the Computicket award, 1984.

Nominated Vita Award (Free State region) for her role in My Children!, My Africa! (best leading actress); award year 1993.

Sources

Tucker, 1997.

Various entries in the NELM database.

The me nobody knows: a programme for the The Company production directed by Benjy Francis, with Nomsa Nene and Ruth Masilo in the cast, at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, from 10 May 1977.

Saturday Star, 6 April 2013.


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