Dr Thokozani Mhlambi is not your usual musician. Not only does he play the cello, sing and compose his own songs, but Mhlambi uses his art and exhibitions in order to convey African stories/philosophies.
Born in Madadeni, KwaZulu-Natal, after fulfilling music studies in South Africa & Sweden, Mhlambi received his Phd in Music at the University of Cape Town. He received his Phd in Music at the University of Cape Town, where he also became the National Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Innovation. In South Africa, he has showcased work at leading platforms such as the National Arts Festival, Baxter Theatre, Soweto Theatre and most recently the State Theatre in Pretoria—where he drew audiences from all walks of life. He has also been a visiting lecturer at universities in Finland (Jyvaskyla), Brazil, to mention a few. And has had opportunities to perform and speak in places such as New Orleans (Tulane), São Paulo, Maputo (Mozambique), New York and Vancouver (Canada). Recently he was an invited contributor to the roaming academy of the Dutch Art Institute, an itinerant program fostering a variety of creative practices at the intersection of art & theory.
In 2019, he collaborated with revered Chinese visual artist Dachan, in a live performance/installation at the Zeitz Mocca Museum in Cape Town. In 2020, Mhlambi was selected as an Artist in-Residence at Cite International Des Arts in Paris, supported by the Institut Francais. He used the time to connect with artists from different parts of the world, and more specifically the African continent, and to develop new creative work.
His research interest are in the archive of ‘early African Intellectuals as Composers’, which includes the likes of Enoch Sontonga, John & Nokutela Dube, Reuben Caluza, to mention a few. He has created music for visual art exhibitions, dance productions as well as radio podcasts.