Buhle ngaba

…is a multi-award winning South African actor, writer and speaker.

She studied Acting and Contemporary performance at Rhodes University and Processes of Performance at the University of Leeds (UK). She performed in the world premiere of John Kani’s play Missing at the Baxter Theatre (SA) and went on to tour internationally with the production earning her nominations for the “Best Supporting Actress” for the South African Fleur Du Cap Theatre Awards as well as the Naledi Theatre Awards.


In 2016, Ngaba was awarded the prestigious Brett Goldin Bursary, with the opportunity to expand her knowledge and acting ability of Shakespeare at The Royal Shakespeare Company (Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK). It is during her time there, that Ngaba began to conceptualise and write her first one-woman screenplay – Swan Song.


In 2018, she was cast as Bianca in an all woman The Taming of the Shrew at Maynardville Theatre (SA), solidifying the experience she had gained at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and her yearning to teach what she had learnt. These experiences resulted in her curating Shakespeare Grounded; a  programme consolidating all she learnt in her time at the RSC with the aim of teaching these skills to young learners in South Africa. The programme is based on  facilitating a practical approach between teacher and student and accessing Shakespeare. The programme can be adjusted to suit any number of pupils and is inclusive of all students and since its inception, Ngaba has implemented it at the University of Cape Town (2018/2019) as well as at AFDA Film School (2020).


Recently, she was nominated to form part of the Shakespeare Society of South Africas Executive Committee (Theatre portfolio, 2020).


Performing artists globally have been affected particularly harshly by the necessary measures taken to limit the spread of COVID-19. In response to this, Ngaba spearheaded the #lockdownshakespeare initiative with the South African Shakespeare Society. The aim of the initiative was to contribute to the SA arts economy by promoting theatre makers and helping to provide some financial support. Following its initiation submissions poured in countrywide, which led to a range of speeches  being added to the ShakespeareZA page creating resources for all for future reference.


In 2017, Ngaba won two South African Kanna Theatre Awards including “Best Upcoming Artist” for Swan Song. The production was adapted into a screenplay streamed worldwide during the course of the National Arts Virtual Festival 2020. In 2018, Buhle was nominated for a Fleur Du Cap Theatre Award for “Best Leading Actress”, for her performance in What Remains; a play by acclaimed writer Nadia Davids and multi award-winning director, Jay Pather.


Ngaba was named as one of the Mail and Guardians’ Top 200 Young South Africans in 2016 and voted number 1 by the public in the Superbalist Top 100 Entrepreneur List (2016) – a definitive list of young creatives redefining the future of creative culture, entrepreneurship and style in SA.  In the same year, Ngaba was awarded with the Gauteng Youth Premiers Award of Excellence.

As a published author of The Girl Without A Sound, Buhle seeks to promote diversity in childrens literature, aid the development of the arts in underprivileged communities and to develop the legacy of storytelling amongst the youth.  Recently, The Girl Without A Sound has been published into all 11 official languages. Ngabas TedX Table Mountain talk How Storytelling Can Change How We See the World launched the whirlwind success of her book and since then, she has been invited to speak at several schools, workshops and corporate events/panels across the country including being invited to MC the Hyundai Kona Studio at Afropunk 2018/2019. She also had an opportunity to MC at the Design Indaba Conference (2018/2019) and was invited to deliver a keynote address at the 20th anniversary of The Women’s Legal Centre (SA).


Buhle recently localised The New Girl Code; an initiative by Inspiring Fifty NPO and Dutch serial technology entrepreneur Janneke Niessen. Funds made with the book are used to further support activities to increase diversity in technology. The New Girl Code is aimed at girls and young women, providing visible role models to highlight the potential of working in tech.


In 2019, Ngaba was invited to participate in the Womens Creative Writing Mentorship Project from the University of Iowa (IWP). This included attending the AWP Conference (Portland). Ngaba used the opportunity to  collate research with the intention of writing a new novel . The novel will focus on the life and times of her great aunt Ruth Mompati. The research was to be completed alongside her mother, Sindi Ngaba ; In her PhD research, The Leadership and Ideas of Ruth Segomotsi Mompati in the Struggle for National Liberation and Democratic South Africa, Sindi worked with intellectual biography as a mode of enquiry, seeking to theorise around the leadership of  Mompati. Devastatingly, Sindi passed on after a battle won with cancer in 2019.Buhle intends on continuing the research alongside Siphokazi Magadla, culminating in a published book, in the form of an intellectual biography of Ruth Mompati. The project not only holds personal significance for Buhle but also speaks to who and what is remembered in the South African consciousness.

In 2019, Ngaba was awarded the “Rising Light” award at the Mbokodo Awards for Women in the Arts. Through her acting, writing and inspiring work, Ngaba inspires others, to find their own voices.


Buhle has most recently been awarded the 2020 artists Pro-Helvetia Swiss studio residency.