A Musical Tribute to Nokutela Mdima-Dube by Nonhlanhla Yende

A musical tribute to Nokutela Mdima-Dube by critically acclaimed South African Mezzo-soprano Nonhlanhla Yende.

Masixole Makwetu Music presents a musical tribute to a pioneering woman who made a mark in the 19th century as a singer, composer, arranger, teacher, instrumentalist and conductor. She is a hidden figure whose many Artistic contributions are unknown and understudied.

Nonhlanhla Yende, one of South Africa’s most sought after mezzo-sopranos, will perform music which was composed, arranged and published by Nokutela Mdima-Dube from from 21 to 24 June 2024 at the Beethoven Room at the 2024 National Arts Festival. 

The concert will narrate the remarkable story of Nokutela (1873 - 1917) showcasing her powerful and spiritual music. Featured in the programme will be Nokutela's rare music, namely, Inhlanhla Kwabashadayo, Izigebengu and Ikhaya Lami. This original music was published in her 1911 songbook, Amagama Abantu. Amagama Abantu was the first secular songbook published in an African language in South Africa.

Production Credits

Singer: Nonhlanhla Yende

Accompanist: Sibusiso Njeza

Director and Narrator: Masixole Makwetu

About the Artists

Nonhlanhla Yende-Mtirara was born in Johannesburg- South Africa. She received her vocal training with Thamsanqa Zungu and Lionel Mkhwanazi, and Nellie du Toit and Hanna van Schalkwyk. 


She has performed in several productions, Aida, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, Madama Butterfly, Lucia, Princess Magogo and The Merry Widow. She made debut as a professional soloist in 2007 in an Opera Gala with the Pro-Musica. 


She joined the Cape Town Opera Voice of the Nation Studio in 2010. Roles with Cape Town Opera have included Bess (Porgy and Bess) on a major UK tour including her debut at the Coliseum in London's West End, Mercédès in Carmen, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi and the Monitor in Suor Angelica, as well as a much-lauded performance as Irina in Weill's Lost in the Stars. In 2012 she did her debut of Porgy and Bess in the Uk Tour with Cape Town Opera, in September 2012 Nonhlanhla performed in Cape Town Opera's Gala Concerts with Orchestra Victoria at the Hamer Hall in Melbourne,Australia. In 2013 she took part in a 6 week scholarship program with Michelle Breedt and took part in The Garmisch- Pinkerschen Richard Strauss Festival, where she worked with Prof. Brigitte Fassbaender on masterclasses, she understudied Suzuki in Butterfly with CTO, In 2014 she did the role of Bess in Porgy and Bess (Bordeaux-France) and Barcelona (Gran Teatre del Luceu), 


In May 2014 she did the role of Nosekeni in Opera South Africa's Madiba the African Opera production, in 2015, Nonhlanhla returned to Spain (Madrid) at the Teatro Madrid to do the role of Bess in Cape Town Opera's Porgy and Bess on her return she performed the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at Rooderport Theatre. In 2016, she again did a role of Bess in Porgy and Bess in Argentina. In 2017, she again performed the role of Mercédés in Carmen, the role of Madalenna in Rigoletto, the role of Marie in Flying Dutchman, Second Lady in Magic Flute with Cape Town Opera.


In 2018, she went back to do the role of Bess in Porgy and Bess in Gwangjiu, South Korea. In 2020 she took up a role to serve in the Cape Town Opera Youth Development Education Department as a Facilitator and Coordinator. 2021 she performed in Cape Town Opera’s Handel’s Messiah. 2023 performed in Tanzania with Dar Choral Society on their annual Christmas Festival. In 2023 sghe recorded two singles entitled ‘Sedilaka’ and ‘Thula..’ and both singles are available on all music digital platforms. Still in 2023 she performed three recitals between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

  • Venue: Beethoven Room
  • Location: Rhodes Music Department
  • Ticket price: ZAR 100.00
  • Programme type: The Fringe
  • Genre: Music
  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • Ages: 16+
Beethoven Room
June 21, 2024 14:00 - 14:50
Beethoven Room
June 22, 2024 18:30 - 19:20
Beethoven Room
June 23, 2024 16:00 - 16:50
Beethoven Room
June 24, 2024 10:00 - 10:50