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Mncedisi Baldwin Shabangu

Mncedisi started acting in 1992 in Kanyamazane, a small town in Mpumalanga that borders Mozambique and Swaziland. In 1995, he enrolled at the Market Theatre Laboratory. After he graduated, Swedish producer Christer Dahl commissioned his class to produce a new South African play. That sparked the birth ofGomorrah, a physical theater piece that was critically acclaimed both at the Market Theatre and the National Arts Festival. Later, it toured Sweden and Mncedisi went on to attend the summer acting course at the Royal National Studio in London. After returning, he went straight back to his village and began working with young people. It is through his grassroots arts work that he caught the eyes of producers and directors who wanted to collaborate with him—marking the beginning of a long, colourful and decorated career. At the age of 27, Mncedisi felt he had achieved everything he wanted—but there was more to come. Today, Mncedisi is a multi-award-winning actor and director and a recipient of the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for theater. He has worked with acclaimed directors Lara Foot, James Ngcobo, Paul Grootboom, Malcolm Purkey, Aubrey Sekhabi, Craig Higginson, John Matshikiza, and William Kentridge, as well as two young directors that were once his students at the Market Theatre Lab: Monageng Motshabi and Price Lamla. Mncedisi has appeared in classic South African plays such as Nongogo, Woza Albert!, Asinamali!, Tshepang andWoyzeck on the Highveld, to name a few. He featured in the film Catch a Fire with Derek Luke and Tim Robbins, and recently appeared in the mini-series Book of Negroes alongside Louis Gossett Junior. 

From the Village and Back Again

From the Village and Back Again

27 August 2015

Mncedisi Baldwin Shabangu writes about his career as an acclaimed actor and director in South Africa, and the decisions that led him to currently work exclusively in a rural village.