Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe was born in 1959 and is well-known for her roles as a freedom fighter, activist, actress, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author. Storytelling is famously a deeply traditional activity in Africa, and Gcina does exceptionally well. She is one of the few women storytellers in a country largely dominated by males. Gcina does her most important work through charismatic performances and works to preserve storytelling as a means to keep history alive as well as encourage South African children to read. Gcina delivers her stories in four of South Africa’s languages, English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa, which makes it possible for South Africa’s people to receive her stories in a language that can be understood by a diverse majority.


Gcina was born on the 24th October 1958 in Durban, South Africa and speaks five languages, Zulu, Xhosa, English, Afrikaans and Sotho. She matriculated at the Mfundisweni High School in 1979 and participated in a Cadet Journalism course at the Rhodes University as well as partook in a six-month film making course as part of the Interchurch Media Programme’s community project. As a journalist, Gcina held a part time news reading position at Press Trust, Africa Service and between 1982 and 1983 she was writing for the Learn and Teach magazine.