Cont Mhlanga

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Cont Mhlanga
Cont Mhlanga.jpg
BornCont Mdladla Mhlanga
  • Playwright
Known forBeing a playwright.
Notable workPrince Claus award
Spouse(s)Thembi Ngwabi

Cont Mhlanga is a retired Zimbabwean playwright. He retired in 2016 after 36 years in the arts industry to focus in agribusiness in his rural home of Lupane.


He established Amakhosi Cultural Center in 1982. The Center started off as a youth karate club and turned semi-professional in 1988. It created the first pilot center, the Amakhosi Performing Arts Workshop (APAW), which produced and toured with theater plays written and directed by Mhlanga. In 1995 Amakhosi established the country's first privately owned cultural center located within the boundaries of the townships, now popularly known as the Township Square Cultural Center.

Mhlanga wrote more than 20 plays among them The Good President, The End, Sinjalo, Children on Fire, Games and Bombs, The Members and Vikela has three books to his name. He also adapted the popular play Stitsha to a TV series. It featured late Beatar Mangethe.He has directed Bamqgibela Ephila and Omunye Umngcwabo.[1]

The Good President was banned in Zimbabwe. Although presented as a fictional account, its depiction of an African dictator who has ruled his country since 1980 closely mirrors current events in Zimbabwe.[2]

Mhlanga also produced Amakorokoza and Sinjalo for ZBC.

Mhlanga starred as Mtutureli Niekwu in an anti-apartheid movie A World Apart which was released in 1988.[3]


He was arrested and briefly detained in May 2006 on the grounds that his plays were anti-government and meant to incite an uprising against the regime of longstanding President Robert Mugabe.[4]


  • The Good President
  • The End
  • Sinjalo
  • Children on Fire
  • Vikela
  • Tomorrow's People
  • Pregnant with Emotion
  • Stitsha
  • Workshop Negative
  • Nansi Le Ndoda
  • Dabulap
  • Pregnant With Emotion

He has directed Bamqgibela Ephila and Omunye Umngcwabo.


Mhlanga’s politically-charged play The Good President won him an Art Venture Freedom to Create award. He won the award out of nearly 1 000 entrants from 86 countries.

Mhlanga and Amakhosi Cultural Centre were also awarded the Prince Claus award in December 2015, an accolade given in honour of Prince Claus of the Netherlands. It was an honour for outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development.[2]

Personal Life

He is married to Thembi Ngwabi.[1] He has aunts; Greter and Maggie Mhlanga.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cont Mhlanga retires, Chronicle, published: February 11, 2016, retrieved: July 3, 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sindiso Dube,Cont Mhlanga calls it a day, Standard, published: February 7, 2016, retrieved: July 3, 2017
  3. A World Apart (1988), IMb, published: No Date Given, retrieved: July 3, 2017
  4. Julius Dawu,Leading Playwright Arrested,, published: June 15, 2006, retrieved: July 3, 2017