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Monday, July 6, 2009


Durban’s Zuki Vutela featured on the NAF with a production she has written, directed and produced.

With choreography by Gift Bophela, Phelelephi ND-Love is a 45-minute literary monologue fusing prose, poetry, music and dance. It is performed by Thapelo-Mmoho, Gift Bophela and Zuki Vutela to prose by Mphuthlane Wa Bofelo’s Beyond Boundaries. Music and rights obtained from Don Laka (Pyrimid CD) and Ernie Smith (My African Heart CD). The show is performed in English and the age restriction is 14 years up.

Phelelephi ND-love was christened Penelope Ndlovu. However, she decided to emancipate herself through a relevant pilgrimage of self discovery, claiming her dues alongside some popular South African acronyms such as BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) and PDI, (previously disadvantaged individual) and this for her went deeper than financial worth. She yearned for understanding of her purpose in life as well as her environment. Her dignity refused her to cave into the various challenges in which she found herself. Her conviction that she was born a fashion lover, a trend-setter, in whatever environment she found herself in, made sure that she was more than a conqueror.

Her loyalty and love for her city of Durban encouraged her to change her surname from Ndlovu, meaning elephant, to become ND-love’, for she felt she was made to love despite always finding herself on the street. In 1994 Penelope, the faithful and loyal one, in the true sense of the Greek mythology, decided to register for a new South African identity document and change from her “English school name” Penelope to become Phelelephi ND-love’. She believed that she would sound more eloquent and relevant, whilst on this journey of self-discovery.

Phelelephi ND-love exhibits African pride in Phelelephi’s four major life challenges: being a pregnant teenager, a prostitute, a convict and finally her move toward preaching.

The play is fresh and quirky and has an element of reality that challenges the perception of true beauty. Phelelephi shows that it’s more than tall skinny legs and British accents for her, it’s about character and being rooted, cultured, urban and boasting the looks and intellect of ubuntu, humility & togetherness, never mind the historical evidence of failure and disillusionments.

Brought up in the traditional ways of story telling, music and dance, Phelelephi takes her audience through her various plights in life, emerging a metaphor of human triumph. This story provokes thoughts and discussions around the issues of voting, economic policies, land issues, family values, lifestyle, service delivery and professionalism, career choices, crime, prostitution, exploitation drugs, cultural values and beatings.

Zukiswa Sindiswa Gqwethakazi Vutela (“Zuki”) is a professional communications specialist and project manager. Her early days working in radio marketing at the SABC led her to a passion in social marketing & multi-disciplinary arts project management. She currently works as a project manager at the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where she is responsible for projects such as the Jomba! Contemporary Dance Festival, Poetry Africa, Time of the Writer and Durban International Film Festival. She was instrumental in the initiation of a Writer’s Parliament, an ambitious project that seeks to address the needs of writers by establishing a cultural policy for the city of Durban. She also curates the Short Film selection of the Durban International Film Festival and is a member of the selection committee for the Talent Campus Durban, an intensive five day programme of workshops and seminars for selected film makers in Africa.

Zuki has engineered international, award winning events & projects that have seen her take fashion, theatre, film, music and dance to countries such as the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Germany. As a writer she has focused on certain key areas, namely: women, children, transformation and sustainability narratives, strategic documents and brand development including reputation management . She is an ambassador for the Church and has a diploma in theology from the Durban Christian Centres: International Christian Bible College.

Contact Zuki Vutela on 076 038 5569 or email: