Nhlanhla Mahlangu

Vocalist, composer, theater maker, gravity defying dancer and educator.

Exceptional vocalist, composer, theater maker, gravity defying dancer and educator Nhlanhla Mahlangu is a graduate in the theory and practice of Dance teaching at Moving into Dance, Mophatong. Recently Mahlangu has turned his attention to translating his prolific local and international career on stage in to an Master of Arts by Creative Research at the University of Witwatersrand. Mahlangu can only be described as a generous interdisciplinary collaborator who excels at conjuring original, complex and contemporary work rooted in traditional forms.

Born in Pholapark Squatter Camp in Apartheid South Africa in the late 1970s, Mahlangu started school during the national state of emergency in the1980s. Mahlangu witnessed first hand the conflicts
between the African National Congress, Inkatha Freedom Party and The ‘Third Force’ of the 1990s. His seminal body of work, Chant is shaped and inspired by these experiences. In addition to his contemporary dance and musical ingenuity Mahlangu is celebrated for his embodiment of Isicathamiya, a cappella-type musical form combining vocals and movement, Mahlangu uses this practice as a way to process the history of South Africa, particularly the plight of migrant workers, these performances look to build social cohesion, heal the wounds of the past and encourage resilience in the new Democratic South Africa.

Nhlanhla Mahlangu’s prolific practice is one of interrogation, articulation, development and research. He has gained exceptional ground through his pivotal  collaborations with luminaries the calibre of William Kentridge, Robyn Orlin, Richard Cock, Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, Sylvia Glasser, Vincent Mantsoe, Jay Pather, James Ngcobo, Victor Ntoni, Hugh Masekela, as well as his choral music and music making approaches with his Hlabelela Ensemble and Song and Dance Works. Mahlangu was a Naledi award winner for Best Choreographer in 2017.