Xolisa Casius Ngubelanga - South Africa

Xolisa Ngubelanga has 14 years’ experience as a thinker, writer, youth development facilitator, theatre-maker, and activist from the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. As a youth facilitator, he has volunteered at under-resourced schools in Port Elizabeth to instill a proactive and progressive culture in students through literature. In 2004, he co-founded and chaired the Uhuru wa Maisha Arts and Culture Movement, where he was responsible for chairing meetings, working on organizational issues, and settling disputes. He entered the arts field as a leader and has never looked back. Today, he is co-founder and director of Jo Kinda ‘ People. Through Jo Kinda ‘ People, Xolisa improves the learning culture and space in township schools, including Cowan High School and Pearston High School. He started public speaking and drama classes and has improved reading and writing culture by facilitating student magazines, where students write and read about youth experiences. As a writer he has written numerous play scripts including Flamebook, Dinner with Bantu, and Pieces of An African Drum, which have toured South Africa and won numerous awards. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Creative Writing at Rhodes University. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Xolisa will focus on building a high school public speaking network where students in New Brighton and Pearston can come together and share ideas. He will also continue constructing a teenage and youth-friendly cultural center where youth will learn about art and their history, read, write, and be empowered through various life skills such as tourism entrepreneurship and computer literacy.