Community reels at dancer’s death

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Friends, family and the Makhanda community have expressed shock and sorrow at the death of dancer and actor Ayanda Nondlwana.  Nondlwana was stabbed in Fingo Village around 5.45am on Sunday 13 October. He passed away at the scene.

Spokesperson for the South African Police Service Captain Mali Govender confirmed Nondlwana’s death. She said he was with a friend near the Fingo Bottle Store, when he approached three men and walked off with them.

“His friend decided to follow them and he was still some distance away when he was informed by a passerby that [Nondlwana] had been stabbed,” Govender said. “He died at the scene.”

Nondlwana led local pantsula dance troup Via Kasi Movers to national stages, including the National Arts Festival. He and Via Kasi won their way into the hearts of young and old, as they performed across the city and beyond, as well as teaching Rhodes students and learners attending the National Schools Arts Festival, among others, their breathtaking skills.

Many local school children and music lovers will remember Nondlwana as the delightful clowning anchor MC at Masicule for several years. Parents and their very young children will have seen him in the lead role in the National Arts festival productions of The Gruffalo. He made history (along with the rest of the production team) with the world’s first isiXhosa version of the show.

National Arts Festival Technical Director Nicci Spalding, who worked closely with Nondlwana on a number of productions, said this morning, “We are absolutely devastated.”

In a subsequent Facebook post, the Festival wrote: “Words cannot begin to cover the sadness we feel this morning with the news that the lovely, warm, generous, and talented Ayanda Nondlwana passed away under tragic circumstances in Makhanda this morning.

“Ayanda was a truly gifted dancer and teacher who shared his talent and passion with hundreds of youngsters each week… His family and friends will feel the loss most. We in his wider circle of arts family extend our love and condolences to them, and a thank you to @AyaNondlwana for sharing his gift with us so generously.”

Govender said a case of murder was under investigation. At the time of replying to Grocott’s Mail’s query, just before 4pm Sunday, no arrests had been made. Grocott’s Mail will continue to report.

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