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Malika Ndlovu Ovation SA profile image

Malika Ndlovu

Performance Poetry - Spoken word -

Malika Ndlovu‘s Poetry has appeared on pages and stages across Africa, in major cities in Europe, the USA, India and the Philippines.

Since 2007 Malika Ndlovu was project manager, guest curator and presenter of the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry X-Change and later first-ever Africa – focused poetry podcasting platform. As a founder-member of Cape Town-based women writers’ collective WEAVE (1998 – 2004), she co-edited WEAVE’s Ink @ Boiling Point: A selection of 21st Century Black Women’s writing from the Southern Tip of Africa. In 2004 she initiated And The Word Was Woman Ensemble.

In 2006 Malika Ndlovu teamed up with legendary South African folk and jazz singer/songwriter Tina Schouw and formerly of Moodphase5ive fame, multi-talented hip-hop-dub-blend singer/writer Ernestine Deane, to form the celebrated music and poetry trio Womantide. She was also a scriptwriter and project manager for Mothertongue, another leading collective of South African performing women artists, writers, visual artists, creatives and academic researchers. As an interdisciplinary member of each of these women-centred and driven initiatives. Malika Ndlovu has made a substantial impact for over two decades on local and international platforms ranging from arts festivals, corporate, NGO and university events to high profile gatherings at National Parliament.

Malika Ndlovu’s poetry collections include Born in Africa But (1999) Womb to World: A Labour of Love (2001), Truth is both Spirit and Flesh (2008), Invisible Earthquake: a Woman’s Journal through Stillbirth (2009),CLOSE (2017). Her published plays are A Coloured Place (1998) and Sister Breyani (2010). She features prominently in Our Words, Our Worlds: Writing on Black South African Women Poets, 2000 – 2018 (UKZN Press, 2019) edited Makhosazana Xaba.

In recent years the consolidation of skills and experience has encompassed work in the health, welfare, education and heritage sectors. Using applied art and arts-in-medicine approach, she continues to affirm her lifelong intuitive relationship with poetry as a therapeutic, transformative medium.

Via her poetic memoir Invisible Earthquake: a Woman’s Journal through Stillbirth (Modjaji Books, 2009) and website, Malika has become a passionately vocal advocate around pregnancy-related loss, bereavement support, mental and maternal health.

Malika Ndlovu’s story and insights on this subject feature in internationally published articles and interviews incl. the Lancet Medical Journal, SANDS (Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Newborn Death Support) newsletters, BBC World Service, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimist” and WHO’s April 2017 World Health Day online campaign on depression & other mental health issues. She has worked as drama therapist assistant at De Lorentz psychiatric day hospital, for Drama for Life at WITS University, with Zakheni Art Therapy Foundation, the Wellness Foundation and is the only applied artist presenter on UCT’s Arts and Medicine: Humanizing Healthcare MOOC, which has fueled a growing global conversation on the multiple merits of an interdisciplinary approach using the arts within clinical settings.

In December 2018 Malika Ndlovu presented a WITS Drama For Life annual conference keynote address and performance entitled Poetic Navigation: Mapping creative pathways through trauma, grief and remembering, using poetry as an integrative process of release, documentation and memorialization. In late 2019 she joined the newly established Arts in Psychosocial Support CoP (community of practice) – a South African national network and facilitated two stakeholder seminars in the Western and Eastern Cape, towards widening its membership and developing its first collaborative research project.

Our wealth, our answers, our healing lies buried within. We must begin the excavation of this medicine, this abundance.
– Malika Ndlovu

‘The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering’ – Ben Okri

Previous Clients

Noteworthy Clients & Performances (2013 – 2018)

  • Graduate School of Business, UCT (Leadership Executive Programme) LEP International
  • District Six Museum
  • Centre for African Studies, UCT
  • Museum of AIDS in Africa / Healing Through Memory Toolkit
  • ZAFANZONE: Land Act Centenary Exhibition
  • Foundation for Human Rights
  • Pygmalion Management Consultants (Old Mutual Conference)
  • Oxford University Press
  • Mtungwa Communication Solutions Pty Ltd (SANAA Africa)
  • The Playhouse Company (SAWAF 2013)
  • espAFRIKA (Pty) Ltd (WEFA Mokete 2013)
  • SA Human Rights Commission (Freedom Park Storytelling Fest 2014)
  • The Poetry Archive: UK
  • UCT Sociology Dept (Mapping the 3rd African Diaspora: Popularization Exhibition)
  • Summit Education (in association with the Commonwealth Education Trust )
  • St Luke’s Hospice
  • WITS University (TZAPP Educators Workshop)
  • Embrace Dignity
  • Khululeka Grief Support
  • SFH Foundation
  • International Peace College South Africa (IPSA)
  • LIVINGIT! (Ubuntu Youth Film Festival)
  • School for International Training (SIT)
  • UCT Development and Alumni Department (UCTASA)
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • ACTION AID (World Court of Young Women)
  • Macmillan Education South Africa
  • Com / Capstone Consulting
  • ZAKHENI Arts Therapy Foundation
  • CPUT Faculty of Engineering
  • EBONY Curated Galleries
  • Stellenbosch University, English Department: Inzync Poetry
  • MHANI GINGI Social Entrepreneurial Network
  • International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) at UCT
  • Al-Fitrah Foundation (Inner Circle) 2012
  • Deutsche Bank & Alfred Herrhausen Society’s – SA Jury Member & Award Event MC
  • (DBUAA) Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award
  • Infecting the City – Spier Public Arts Festival 2012, 2011
  • Santam Private Investment Conference – Hosting of Master Class on Creative Expression
  • Young Women’s Leadership Academy workshop at Chrysalis – Guest Speaker / Poet
  • ANC Centenary ‘Tshikhumbudzo’ Celebration, Mangaung Stadium – Commissioned Performance Poet 2011
  • Leading Executive Programme at UCT Graduate School of Business – Guest Speaker / Poet
  • India –SA ‘Insurrection’ CD Project for Prof Ari Sitas
  • 100 000 Poets for Change global event hosted by Badilisha Poetry Radio at Africa Centre, Heritage Day 24th Sept 2011 – Featured Poet
  • Dept of Justice & Constitutional Development ‘s Finance Dept. Function – Guest Poet
  • Face 2 Face Youth Leadership Gala Evening
  • US Consulate General’s 3rd Annual High Tea in honour of SA National Women’s Day – Guest Speaker / Poet
    And many more.

Corporate Roles
HCI Foundation – Refugee Bursary Project Commissioned Poet
Brandhouse – National Roadshow Commissioned Poet
Santam – National Roadshow Commissioned Poet
MultiChoice VUKA! Awards. Commissioned Poet
InterActive Africa /2010 FIFA World Cup LOC Commissioned Poet
Future Managers/ Lotsha Publications & Booksellers Researcher/ Writing Talent Scout

Arts & Culture Organisations & Festivals
The Africa Centre / Badilisha Poetry Radio Independent Project Curator / Online Radio Presenter
CCCB – Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona – Kosmopolis Amplified Literature Festival Guest Performance
Infecting the City Public Arts Festival – Arts Aweh! Youth Education Project Project Manager
Plexus Films – Oxford Uniersity Press promo video  Encounters Film Fest – My Town annual Short Film Competition Voice Over Artist / Judge Since 2009
British Council – UK/SA Poets Exchange & London Book Fair Guest Performance Poet / Independent Publisher
Artscape Theatre, CT – Womantide at Women’s Arts Festival
Baxter Theatre, CT – Sister Breyani Playwright
Cape Town Festival Independent Project Manager / Poet 2000-2004
Cape WOW ( Women of the World) Festival Independent Project Manager / Poet 2000-2007
Art for Humanity (Artists for Human Rights) – National Billboard project Poet Collaborator With Visual Artist
Franschoek Literary Festival Performance Poet
Poetry Afrika Festival Performance Poet
Amani Arts Festival Project Co-ordinator / Performance Poet / Singer
PANSA (Performing Arts Network of SA) Guest Speaker/ Script Competition Judge

Educational & Heritage Institutions
Robben Island Museum – Artists in Residence Project Project Manager
South African History Project – National Roadshow Commissioned Poet
Iziko Museums (SANG and Slave Lodge) Independent Project Manager / Poet
District Six Museum Independent Project Manager / Poet
Historical Schools Restoration Project – Fort Hare Colloquium participant Guest Panelist / Poet
National Library Services Centre for the Book – Out to Lunch writing sessions Guest Facilitator /Poet
Department of Arts and Culture – London Book Fair 2010 / 2011 Guest Performance Poet/ National Delegate
Western Cape Education Department Guest Performance Poet
University Of Western Cape, Division of Lifelong Learning Guest Performance Poet
SARS – International Conference of Tax Administrators Commissioned Poet
Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) Guest Performance Poet
University of Stellenbosch – English Dept / Woordfees Guest Performance Poet

Government Departments Roles
South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Commissioned Poet
Parliament Millennium Project – Women’s Day Celebration/ Conference on Women & Economic Empowerment of Africa Guest Performance Poet
WC Provincial Government Guest Performance Poet
National Department of Education – National Langauges School’s Festival Ed Minister’s Showcase Co-Ordinator
Western Cape Government Health Dept. – Social Capital campaign Commissioned Poet
City of Cape Town Municipality – Sports and Recreation Division & Public Safety & Security Dept Guest Speaker/ Performance Poet
Pan African Parliament – Global Conference Guest Performance Poet
Inter –Parliamentary Union – Global Conference Guest Performance Poet
South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) – Dance of Learning conference & sculpture unveiling Commissioned Poet
Department of Public Works

Health & Social Welfare Sector
St Luke’s Hospice CT Guest Speaker/ Author
Big Shoes Child Palliative Care Guest Speaker/ Author
Lancet Medical Journal (UK) – Global Stillbrth Series & Awareness Campaign Guest Speaker/ Author
International Stillbirth Alliance Commissioned Author
Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation – Family Health Department Commissioned Author
Khululeka Child Grief Support Guest Speaker/ Author
Mowbray Maternity Hospital Guest Speaker/ Author
Tygerberg Hospital – Safe Passage maternal health research Guest Speaker/ Author
Save the Children/ Saving Newborn Lives Guest Speaker/ Author
Compassionate Friends Guest Speaker/ Author
NeoNatal Nursing Assoc of South Africa Guest Speaker/ Author
Occupational Therapy/Nursing & Midwifery Division – UCT Facilitator / Poet

Institute for the Healing of Memories Guest Speaker/Poet
Human Rights Media Centre Facilitator / Poet
Molo Songololo Children’s Rights Org Independent Project Manager / Poet
Face 2 Face Youth Leadership Academy annual awards gala dinner Guest Performance Poet
Institute for Justice & Reconciliation Guest Speaker/Poet
Desmond Tutu Peace Centre – Southern African Women Social Activists meeting Guest Performance Poet
ACORD International (Kenya/Uganda) – Arts Intervention Coordinator/ Guest Performance Poet
Aids Response – Care for the Caregivers Day Guest Performance Poet
ANEX CDW – Child Trafficking Campaign launch Commissioned Poet
Embrace Dignity – Anti-Human Trafficking Campaign launch Commissioned Poet
WHEAT (Women’s Hope Education and Training Trust Guest Performance Poet
Rachel’s Angels Guest Speaker/Poet
Amnesty International – Human Rights Portfolio launch Commissioned Poet
Africa Gender Institute, University of Cape Town Guest Speaker/Poet
Centre for Conflict Resolution Guest Speaker/Poet
New Women’s Movement Facilitator / Poet
Shikaya Youth Leadership Facilitator / Poet


Malika Ndlovu’s deep thought and compassion resonate in her poetry, music and presence. Malika can create an atmosphere that transports participants from an ordinary hall or classroom to a world of dreams and magic.  She is a powerful performance poet, MC and motivational speaker whose work awakens and heals. Malika has used her inspiring voice to address critical causes, including anti-xenophobia, anti-racism, for mental health and in the service of many other pressing problems.

Pregs Govender

South African icon, feminist activist, writer

Author of Love and Courage, A Story of Insubordination


Malika is an excellent artist (poet, playwright, musician) who speaks wisdom into our contemporary realities. An accomplished, experienced, dependable project manager. A woman, mother and human being of huge integrity and I am most honoured to have her in my circle of life.

Mike van Graan 

Award-winning playwright

President of the African Cultural Policy Network

Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) Fellow


The first time I saw Malika perform was in 1998 at the South African National Gallery in a play that she’d written called A Coloured Place. The SANG, an appropriate setting for her performing art. I have forgotten how many times and in how many places I’ve seen and heard her since then – in other iconic Cape Town spaces. Each time I marvel at her power – how she holds a room, engages with an audience and puts across a message with passion, humour and soul. I have seen her use these same tools to inspire creative performance in young people – and just the other day, at an event where following a spontaneous, unexpected invitation, I witnessed her rise to her feet and deliver a closing poem that left the room breathless. Finally I have also been lucky enough to have learnt about the birth process of some of her work in a number of radio interviews – including a specially written series of poems for broadcast. Hers is a rare talent.

Nancy Richards

Independent SA Journalist, Facilitator, Media trainer, Founder & Executive Director Woman Zone


As initiators of participatory, innovative events at University of the Western Cape over many years, we sought out feminist artists whose creativity would add colourful texture to collective experiences. We invited Malika Ndlovu to work with us on several occasions. Each time her performance poetry, some written especially for the occasion, added sparkles of light both to the creation of a convivial atmosphere and provocation of thoughtful ideas. She is a joy to work with.

Shirley Walters

Professor Emerita


Malika Ndlovu facilitated a team-building session for me in 2008, for the Provincial Training Institute (PTI) staff team of 41. The PTI is a chief directorate in the Dept. of the Premier, Prov. Government WC. I was the Acting Director of the PTI at the time. I used her in 2017 again for a team-building session, for my Teaching and Learning team of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE), CPUT.


In both instances, the staff members were deeply moved and inspired by her powerful and uplifting performance poetry. Malika is an outstanding artist whose beautifully evocative poetry and song are grounded in her exceptional work and life experiences as a resilient, deeply spiritual and empathetic person. Her inspiring performances created a powerhouse within which my teams and I could proceed with highly successful strategic planning. I highly recommend Malika and wish her well in her future endeavors.

Dr Trunette Joseph

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning

Faculty of Engineering, Bellville Campus

Cape Peninsula University of Technology


I have worked with Malika over a period of 20 years in a variety of capacities. As a poet she has scripted and presented the most beautiful works that have moved audiences. As a facilitator I have always been impressed by her ability to gauge her audience, which has brought out the very best in her participants. She is always well prepared but is also able to offer something spontaneously, which is a huge gift. She is extremely professional bringing a creative approach to business propositions whilst always understanding the end goal. As a speaker she engages her audience, understands time constraints and through her artistic skills is a  strong influencer.I would recommend Malika in any of the capacities and know that clients would be eminently satisfied with the results.

Beryl Eichenberger

PR Consultant – HIPPO Communications 


I am happy to write this testimonial for Malika Ndlovu, who is a wondrous, creative and inspirational poet and human being. I have known Malika for over seven years since we began working together on ZAPP (South African Poetry Project). She is a marvelous performer and teacher who never fails to delight her audience. The scope of her poetry is broad and varied in topic, tone and discourse. Her conduct is highly professional. She has co-presented with me in academic keynotes, and provided creative ideas for the structure and research arm of ZAPP. I have no doubt that she will be an asset to all clients and project partners she may engage with.

Professor Denise Newfield: SLLM, Wits University 

Director, ZAPP  & PI Poetry IKS (Indigenous Knowledge Systems) 2017-2021


Since 2014, I have had the privilege and honour to be associated with Malika as poetry presenter, dramatic artist and arts facilitator. Malika has always displayed an impeccable character in all her dealings with all of us. She interacts and communicates with a high level of sensitivity and respect towards teachers and learners. Her ability to carry out her work duties has proven its true worth in every way. She manages the educator and audience dynamics very well, while promoting a very strong spirit of collegiality for the ultimate benefit of the learners in the classroom. This has always been highly motivational for everybody. It is very clearly evident that Malika has come from a background, which has a strong sense of community consciousness where she herself has been able to uplift society through the dramatic arts and poetry. She stands for the fundamental Principle of Holistic Education and goes the extra mile for holistic learning to take place. This sense of insight into all round development of the learner makes her a valuable asset to both the organisation and the community.

Bharat Parsotam

Senior Education Specialist: English Curriculum

Metro Central Education District


Malika Ndlovu is the epitome of strength, boldness and kindness. This is reflected through her work as an adjudicator for the National Arts Festival. She is so articulate and is not shy to express her insights and views. Her commitment to her work is admirable. She does it with such grace and accuracy. Whoever gets to work with her will have access to a wealth of knowledge. She is a versatile gem to be treasured.

Nobesuthu Rayi

Executive Producer: National Arts Festival