Magical storyteller, Gcina Mhlope, to entrance Hilton Festival-goers


Gcina Mhlope

DURBAN author, actress and storyteller, Gcina Mhlope, will be entrancing children – and any adults lucky enough to get a ticket – with her show, Bones of Memory, at the Hilton Arts Festival on September 16.

Mhlope tours the world mesmerising all those listening with her tales of Africa.

Says festival director, Sue Clarence: “A few years ago I attended the Jaipur Literary Festival in Rajasthan, India. As I walked in, the first person I saw, among the hundreds of thousands of folk, was Gcina. She embraced me, thrilled that she had ‘found a neighbour’!

“Her storytelling sessions never had a spare seat nor ended without a tumultuous standing ovation. And now here she is on our very doorstep.

Bones of Memory is her latest set of stories and she will be telling them as she marches up and down the aisle of the Hilton College Chapel, involving her audience every step of the way.”

Born in Hammarsdale, Mhlophe was influenced by her grandmother’s tales when she was a child. Sinc4e then her written and performance talent has taken her from South Africa all over the world.

She has received six honorary doctorates for a body of work that has contributed to literature and helped to preserve the heritage of African storytelling. Along with the likes of Lillian Cingo, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nadine Gordimer and Nelson Mandela she is a South African icon.

Mhlope’s storytelling session is part of Jongosi, a day dedicated to pupils from grade six to 10. Dubbed ‘Jongosi’ – Johnny Clegg’s word from the Afrikaans meaning “jong ous” — this part of the Hilton Festival is designed to educate, entertain and allow pupils to expand their world-view.

Children can watch two or three productions and have the opportunity to take part in free workshops. Adults also have the opportunity to see performances during Jongosi. Pupils are given preference, but there are always some spare tickets.

For more information phone 033 383 0126/7 or email

Other performances on Jongosi include:
Sizwe Banzi is Dead, arguably the most famous play ever written in SA;
Feathers, a heart stoppingly good dance piece;
The Snow Goose, the world’s most famous Paul Gallico story which has been lovingly adapted for the stage;
Yin ‘iRespect, an interactive dance, song and physical theatre work with a strong message for the young;
Falling Off the Horn, which presentsxenophobia in a new light;
Big Boys;
Pay Back the Curry, satirical sketch comedy that the Guptas and Zuma won’t like;
Life, in which stand-up comedian, Rob van Vuuren, tells it like it is;
Master Harold & the Boys – Fugard’s classic performed by Maritzburg’s TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande; who also perform in Andrew Buckland’s Feedback and Greig Coetzee’s Termite.


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