Google honours South Africa actress Nomhle Nkonyeni on 80th birthday

Google has honoured South Africa’s late renowned actress, Nomhle Nkonyeni with a doodle on her 80th birthday.

Nomhle Nkonyeni was born on 9 April 1942 in Aggrey Road, in the city of Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth.

Her notable acting career began as early as age 19 when she co-founded the Serpent Players. This interracial theater troupe’s name was inspired by the abandoned snake pit in which they were forced to first perform due to discrimination.

Nkonyeni made history by becoming the first Black actress to perform at The CAPAB theatre, a major performing arts centre in Cape Town.

She played the lead role in Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena, which detailed the struggles of a Black South African woman navigating discriminatory laws.

In 1999 she received a Diploma in Conflict Management from Lewisham College in London, United Kingdom (UK).

Nkonyeni appeared in television shows and films such as Isidingo,  Society, Tsha Tsha, Scandal!, Zulu, Red Dust and Igazi.

Nkonyeni also dedicated her life to empowering the next generation. She volunteered as a drama teacher for homeless youth in her spare time and led youth theatre programs in Cape Town.

In 2016, Nkonyeni received a lifetime achievement award from the South African Film and Television Awards for her legacy and impact—both on and off the stage.

In 2019, she was honoured with The National Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for her excellent contribution to the performing arts.

“Over many decades, she has shown durability and adaptability. She has graced national and international stages, and her mastery of her craft has moved many audiences locally and around the world.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa

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