Spotlight on Thembi Mtshali Jones
Multi-talented Thembi Mtshali-Jones is one of South Africa’s most celebrated artists as a singer, actress and playwright. We are honored to welcome her to Ubumuntu Art Festival.
Growing up under apartheid and later working as a nanny, Thembi's future in art only entered the picture when she got cast for a chorus in a theater show. Since then Thembi starred in, wrote and co-wrote numerous plays and extended her career to television. As a singer she worked with artists like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Sipho Gumede, as well as recording solo albums of her own. A highlight of her singing career was being asked to sing Happy Birthday to then President Nelson Mandela for his 80th Birthday in 1998.
On day two of Ubumuntu Art Festival you can experience Thembi's powerful acting skills in "Mother to Mother". The play is a beautifully imagined conversation between the mother of a killer and the mother of the victim. It allows a deeply empathic theatrical encounter, exploring how one unforgiving moment in an ordinary day has repercussions beyond the imaginable. The tour-de-force monologue makes for powerful and profoundly moving theatre delivered with dignity, sensitivity and humor by Thembi Mtshali-Jones. Her performance was described by the Bermuda Royal Gazette as being “spectacular throughout. She delivered pitch-perfect emotional drama, exquisitely timed comedy, soul-shaking song, and several spot on character studies. The story was portrayed as if it were a part of her; a personal tragedy from which she was desperately seeking redemption."
If you want to find out more about Thembi, read The Guardian's piece about the life of the artist:
Or listen to Thembi's song "I am an African":