Balindile Ngcobo

Pietermaritzburg-born actor, theatre-maker, voice artist and facilitator currently pursuing an MA in Theatre & Performance at UCT. While living in Oslo, Norway, she had her first taste of stage performance in a self-devised performance piece at the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Back in South Africa, she attended the country’s only Method Actor’s Training Centre before beginning her undergraduate studies at the University currently known as Rhodes, majoring in Drama and Linguistics. Balindile went on to complete her studies at AFDA (Cape Town), where she obtained a BA in Live Performance (cum laude). Balindile's professional work has seen her work extensively in physical theatre and African performativity. In 2017, she performed both locally and internationally with Theatre for Africa’s renowned physical theatre play ‘Kwa Manzi!’. She later shone in two more productions at that year's National Arts Festival, taking home a Standard Bank Ovation award with the triple Fleur-du-Cap nominated ‘Cattle Drive’. 2018 saw Balindile become an inaugural member of the Market Theatre’s resident drama company, ‘Kwasha!’ This was a year of devising original work and adapting foreign classics - such as their deconstructed reworking of Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors and the African adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince, which opened at the National Arts Festival and later toured the country to critical acclaim. The Little Prince, in particular, incorporated strongly the elements of acrobatics, indigenous musical instruments and the exploration of non-linear storytelling in the world of contemporary performance.

Research summary

My research is focused on the Mbokodofication of Black Women (that is, the production of the ‘Strong Black Woman’ trope, specifically in the South African context) as it contributes to ‘Post-Dramatic’ Stress in Black women performers and widens the 'pain gap' for Black women in the world. My work aims, through language and the aesthetic distance created in its use, to contribute to decolonizing the construction of Black womanhood on stage.