Mr. Welcome Msomi

 

Playwright/Producer/ Director/Executive) – Founder of the IZulu Dance Theatre and Music, established in 1965 in Durban, South Africa. In 1979 Msomi established the extension of the Theatre in New York City. Started writing at the age of 15 and his name has become synonymous with Zulu literature as an accomplished author.

Welcome has won international acclaim as a playwright, choreographer and director. His many works include MNTANAMI NOMHLANGANO MNTANAMI, QONDENI, CHARRIE NTIMBANE, productions performed in South Africa and Swaziland; PHEZULU, a music and dance production for the International Youth Festival in Aberdeen, Scotland; BLACK AND WHITE IS BEAUTIFUL, which toured Europe; MAKHOBA AND THEMBI, a screenplay inspired by Carl Foreman. Mr. Msomi's significant success, UMABATHA (a Zulu adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth) staged at the Aldwych in 1972 and 1973 in Sir Peter Daubeny's World Theatre Season, became an instant hit. 

UMABATHA is hailed as the only cultural classic to come from South Africa. For 30 years UMABATHA was performed in many parts of the world including the Festival of Two Worlds in Italy, Israel, Charleston, South Carolina and all the major cities in the USA. Besides writing for the stage, Mr. Msomi has written and acted in radio plays; hosted his own radio show; composed and produced songs for all his musicals under his record label in association with EMI-South Africa. Other credits include THE DAY. THE NIGHT, produced by the Music Theatre Group; HALALA, produced by Eric Krebs at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre; WOMEN OF COURAGE, produced by Audelco NY. 

Other presentations he has created and produced are: SINA; JOURNEY BACK HOME; FROM SOWETO TO SELMA; BONGI'S JOURNEY. He directed BUYA AFRICA, a one-woman production featuring Thuli Dumakude. He also created music and movement for TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT, a Royal Shakespeare Company production and Msomi was subsequently nominated for Sir Lawrence Olivier Award for choreography. Welcome directed Nelson Mandela 75th Birthday Celebration. Conceived and directed SONKE FESTIVAL. SIYANQOBA FESTIVAL and the 10th May 1994 NELSON MANDELA INAUGURATION (MANY CULTURES, ONE NATION) in Pretoria. Launched the ZULU LION KING for Ster Kinekor; JOYFUL SOUNDS UNDER AFRICAN SKIES for TF1 French Television Company. Welcome was also involved with Nelson Mandela's 77th, 78th and 80th birthday celebrations. In 1995 Msomi auditioned 4000 actors for the revival of UMABATHA; resulting in the formation of a sixty-member company. 1997 UMABATHA went on tour; New York; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Berkley; California; Irvine, CA; Scottsdale, Arizona; Columbus, Ohio; Mississauga; Canada; Binghamton, NY; Glassboro, NJ; Newark, NJ; Boston, Massachusetts and the Globe Theatre, London. In 2000 UMABATHA was performed at the Globe Theatre for Celebrate South Africa. In 1994 Welcome formed a joint venture event marketing company, named Msomi Hunt Lascaris. In 1996 Msomi co-founded and became first CEO of Sasani Limited, a global entertainment and production company with sound studios, film processing labs and camera rental companies in Johannesburg and Cape Town. 

Welcome is chairman of EZINKULU PRODUCTIONS, Welcome Msomi Communications, Blue Moon Communications, MsomiPuisano and director of Network BBDO, Meropa Communications and JNPR. Welcome formed a partnership with Michael Hankinson to create A MANDELA PORTRAIT; original score by Hankinson and text by Msomi. A Mandela Portrait is now touring major American cities. Welcome Msomi is founder and chairman of Ziphathe Empowerment Network, a platform to empower entrepreneurs in the townships and rural communities. In 2008 Welcome was the recipient of the Lifetime Naledi Theatre Awards and in 2010 was the winner of the Johnnie Walker Celebrating Strides Award in the Arts Category.