Africa's Favourite Storyteller and International Best-Selling Author
Gcina is South Africa’s best known storyteller. Storytelling has become a popular business media at conferences and seminars, and Gcina is a master at creating stories to complement business and conference themes. She enjoys international recognition as a poet, playwright, actress, short story writer and storyteller.
Her published books include ‘A Mother’s Search for Stories’, ‘Stories of Africa’, ‘Love Child’, ‘Have you Seen Zandile’ and “The Singing Chameleon”, to name but a few. In 2000 she released an award-winning storytelling CD called ‘Fudukazi’s Magic’ for German audiences. She has also written both story and music in collaboration with guitarist, Bheki Khoza, for the Animated Tales of the World TV series. In 2001 her CD and book of Nozincwadi Mother of Books was produced as part of her nationwide reading road show to South African rural schools.
Storytelling has taken Gcina to theatres from Soweto to London, and much of her work has been translated into German, French, Italian, Swahili and Japanese. She has received awards from BBC Africa Service for Radio Drama, The Fringe First Award in the Edinburgh Festival, the Josef Jefferson Award in Chicago, and OBIE in New York.
The author is still first and foremost active as a performer. She tells stories, dances, appears in numerous international music programmes and can also often be seen in films and television broadcasts, as well as heard on radio programmes. Her musical partners include Francis and Patric Bebey, Sam Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo choir and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Gcina has received Honorary Doctorates from the London Open University, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Pretoria, Fort Hare University and the University of Johannesburg.
In 2013 Gcina was selected as one of the “21 Icons South Africa” series. “21 Icons South Africa “celebrates the lives of 21 extraordinary South Africans who have captured the global imagination with their dignity, humanity and hard work.” Gcina was in the company of greats, the likes of Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk, Ahmed Kathrada, and Gary Player.
Gcina’s stories meld folklore, information, current affairs, song and idiom. The realisation of her dreams is a visceral motivator for her and she is passing on her infectious enthusiasm by developing young talent to carry forward the work of storytelling through the Zanendaba (Bring me a story) Initiative. This initiative, established in 2002, is a collaboration with the Market Theatre and READ, a national literacy organization.
Mhlophe currently serves as the patron of the ASSITEJ South Africa, the International Association for Theatre for Children and Young People, which focuses on making books available to poor South African rural communities by making sure that libraries are built, and making sure they are stocked with locally and culturally relevant books.
“Gcina’s blend of stories and songs were the perfect ending to a night in the boma and added significantly to our appreciation of South Africa’s history and culture.”
John S Zomzow, Advertising Manager, General Motors Corporation, Grand Blanc, Michigan USA
“Sensational. Gcina held the audience in the palm of her hand throughout her performance. One of the best I’ve heard.”
Clive Kairuz, Marketing Director, Metro Cash & Carry
“Dynamic, impactful and hugely entertaining – Gcina gave us a memorable evening
round off full of surprises. Perfectly targeted at, our request, for our theme “We Are One”. Will certainly consider her in the future!”
Wayne Staples, Marketing Director, CNLD International (Pty) Ltd
“This was excellent!! Gcina had the audience of 80 delegates from 5 countries spellbound with her poetry and stories. Thanks for adding to the success of our conference!”
Allan MacGillivray, Managing Director, NuTec Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd
“Gcina has an amazing presence. She is powerful beyond measure. Her ability to use all of her (body, mind, soul, spirit) was captivating, liberating and profound… and through simplicity was able to demystify the challenges of leadership.”
Evelyn Naika, HR, Woolworths