Edmund Mhlongo’s K-CAP KwaMashu

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Edmund was born in 1956 in the village of Nkwenkwe near Melmoth, Northern KwaZulu-Natal. He later moved to Kwa-Mashu when his parents relocated to Durban. He matriculated in 1983 at John Dube High School in Kwa-Mashu. He obtained his BA Honours degree at the University of Durban-Westville and went to Sussex University in the United Kingdom where he graduated with his Masters degree. In 2005, he was awarded the Durban Theatre Award. He is also a producer graduate from the Hollywood Film Institute.

Mhlongo, a writer and an entrepreneur, is the Producer and renowned Artistic Director who is the behind the Lion King Production. Through the help of local and international organizations such as War Child, Edmund was able to start an arts school called Kwa-Mashu Community Advancement Projects (K-CAP) in 1993. Edmund has directed and wrote world renowned plays such as “Cry Not Child”, “Street Kids” and “Bayede Shaka”. All Edmund’s productions have toured internationally to Ireland, England, Denmark and USA. Edmund is a warm, intelligent person and is passionate about South African history. His dream of developing communities through theatre is unfolding with every new dawn.

In 2003, Mhlongo built the only community theatre in Kwa-Mashu, the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre which is the home of K-CAP. Ekhaya is a multi-purpose space for showcasing presentations and performances. This includes facilities such as Ekhaya Imagination Computer Lab (with Internet), recording studios, theatre hall, dance studio, workshop space, and editing multi-media suites and facilities. The centre involves the community in radio drama and creative script writing, video production, film festivals, traditional arts and cultural activities and African arts. The Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre offers a wide variety of programmes each year.

Mhlongo also directed Amambazo: The Musical in 2014 which he described as by far his proudest moment.

In 2014, Mhlongo came up with the Kwa-Mashu Achievers Awards which seeks to honour the people who are excelling in different walks of life, and are from Kwa-Mashu. Among the recipients in 2014 were Thembi Mtshali-Jones; Melusi Yeni; Leleti Khumalo; Nomzamo Mbatha; Nonkululeko “DJ Le Soul” Mdlalose; Madala Kunene; Khanyo Maphumulo; Baleka Mbete, and Jeff Radebe among many others.

Besides theatre and film, Mhlongo was instrumental in setting up the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park Authority’s Heritage Site Cultural Programme between 2001 and 2004.

Mhlongo is still based at Kwa-Mashu, and is still running the KwaMashu Community Advancement Projects (K-CAP) which has won awards and has become an internationally acclaimed organisation. He is also in charge of the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre which is the home of K-CAP. He is the founder and Director of the Kwa-Mashu African Film Festival (KAFF) (2004).