Doreen Thobekile

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b. c.1943, Natal. Raised in Durban, while in school Thobekile sang, danced and learned to play mbira and umqangala. She became a professional dancer, touring internationally with African Follies. Thobekile…
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b. c.1943, Natal. Raised in Durban, while in school Thobekile sang, danced and learned to play mbira and umqangala. She became a professional dancer, touring internationally with African Follies. Thobekile visited other African countries and while in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) married a British white man named Webster. This led to them both being deported to England. In 1971 she appeared as a singer in London in Ipi Tombi, spending most of the 70s in the show. She also appeared in stage productions of The Pied Piper Of Hamelin and Poppie Nongena. While in London, Thobekile also became a co-founder of Shikisha, an all-woman dance troupe.

Thobekile remained based in London where she has been active in cultural projects in schools and she also carried out similar activities in Europe and North America. For several years Thobekile sang and danced with Transglobal Underground, making several records, and she appeared at WOMAD festivals internationally. She also appeared on stage in 2004's The Playground during London's Black History month. Thobekile's repertoire centres upon Zulu music as well as strains from other lands but is fused with contemporary pop of the South African townships.