Welcome Msomi

Welcome Msomi Headshot

South Africa
Chairperson of the Board
Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission

Welcome Msomi is the Founder / Director of the IZulu Dance Theatre and Music, established in 1965 in Durban, South Africa. In 1979 Msomi established the extension of the Theatre in Brooklyn, New York. Started writing at the age of 15 and his name has become synonymous with Zulu literature as an accomplished author.

Welcome has won international acclaim as a playwright, choreographer and director. His many works include MNTANAMI NOMHLANGANO MNTANAMI, QONDENI, CHARRIE NTIMBANE, productions performed in South Africa and Swaziland; PHEZULU, a music and dance production for the International Youth Festival in Aberdeen, Scotland; BLACK AND WHITE IS BEAUTIFUL, which toured Europe; MAKHOBA AND THEMBI, a screenplay inspired by Carl Foreman. Mr. Msomi’s significant success, UMABATHA (a Zulu adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth) staged at the Aldwych in 1972 and 1973 in Sir Peter Daubeny’s World Theatre Season, became an instant hit.

Welcome and Vinca HandshakeUMABATHA is hailed as the only cultural classic to come from South Africa. For 30 years UMABATHA was performed in many parts of the world including the Festival of Two Worlds in Italy, Israel, Charleston, South Carolina and all the major cities in the USA. Besides writing for the stage, Mr. Msomi has written and acted in radio plays; hosted his own radio show; composed and produced songs for all his musicals under his record label in association with EMI-South Africa. Other credits include, THE DAY THE NIGHT, produced by the Music Theatre Group; HALALA, produced by Eric Krebs at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre and WOMEN OF COURAGE, produced by Audelco NY.

Other presentations he has created and produced are: SINA; JOURNEY BACK HOME; FROM SOWETO TO SELMA; BONGI’S JOURNEY. He directed BUYA AFRICA, a one-woman production featuring Thuli Dumakude. He also created music and movement for TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT, a Royal Shakespeare Company production and Msomi was subsequently nominated for the Sir Lawrence Olivier Award for choreography. He directed Nelson Mandela 75th Birthday Celebration. Conceived and directed SONKE FESTIVAL, SIYANQOBA FESTIVAL for the ANC and the 10th May 1994 NELSON MANDELA INAUGURATION (MANY CULTURES, ONE NATION) in Pretoria. Msomi launched the ZULU LION KING for Ster Kinekor; JOYFUL SOUNDS UNDER AFRICAN SKIES for TF1 French Television Company. He was also involved with Nelson Mandela 77th, 78th, 80th and 88th and 90th birthday celebrations. In 1995 Msomi auditioned 4000 actors for the revival of UMABATHA; resulting in the formation of a sixty-member company that toured the U.S. Canada and the U.K. culminating with an appearance at the Globe Theatre in London.

Welcome is a director of EZINKULU PRODUCTIONS, a production company supplying TV programmes to the South African Broadcasting Corporation. He is also chairman of MsomiPuisano, Welcome Msomi Communications, Blue Moon Corporate Communications and director of Network BBDO, Meropa Communications and JENNI NEWMAN PUBLIC RELATIONS. He is a former board member of the SA Weather Service and Brand South Africa. In 1996 Msomi was the chairman of the State Theatre and also co-founder and CEO of Sasani Sudios in Johannesburg. He currently a member of the Joburg Theatre Board and the Naledi Theatre Board. Welcome formed a partnership with Michael Hankinson to create A MANDELA PORTRAIT; original score by Hankinson and text by Msomi, paying tribute to Nelson Mandela. A recipient of the KwaZulu Natal Premier’s Excellence Awards, Welcome has received accolades from the Cities of London, Rome, Charleston, New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles for his contribution to the arts. In 2008 Msomi was the recipient of the Naledi Lifetime Achievement Theatre Award and In 2010 Welcome was awarded the Johnnie Walker Celebrating Strides prize in the Arts Category. In 2012 Welcome was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre by the Arts & Culture Trust. In 2013 Msomi was awarded the Tribute Concerts Award for his contribution to entertainment activities in South Africa. Msomi is currently the chairperson of the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission.


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