Mukwae Wabei Siyolwe

Mukwae Wabei Siyolwe is the director of development at Afropop Worldwide™ and co-host of Planet Afropop. She is a cultural curator and learning strategist focusing on change management. She holds a BA in Acting (Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London), an MA in Performance Studies (New York University), an MA in Producing Film and Video (American University), and an MFA in Film and Digital Technology (Chatham University).

A member of Actors’ Equity and the British Equity Collecting Society, Mukwae's extensive credits in film, theatre, opera, and musicals include co-starring with Denzel Washington in the Oscar™ nominated film Cry Freedom (Attenborough, Universal), Nuns on the Run (Handmade Films), King, A Musical Testimony (Piccadilly Theatre), School for Scandal and To Kill a Mockingbird (Birmingham Repertory Theatre, UK), The Crossing: Scene 1968-1977 (BBC), King David (Bach Choir), Mass (Barbican Center), Constant Star (Pittsburgh City Theatre), Slide Glide the Slippery Slope (Chosky Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Quantum Theatre), On the Beach (Pittsburgh Playhouse), Keepers of the Dream (Pittsburgh City Theatre) and many more.

Her directing credits include The Island and And the Girls in Their Sunday Dresses (Pittsburgh City Theatre) voted Best of Pittsburgh, Joys of War (Helms Theatre), Innacity (Hipollo Theatre), and plays for children and youth including Choices, a radio series (Namibia Broadcasting Corporation), Unfair Justice (August Wilson Center), Jabberwacky World, and many others. As a composer and vocalist, her work includes Stand Your Ground on the album Two and a Half Years produced by Robert Hodge and Tierney Malone featuring Robert Glasper (Tidal, Soundcloud, iTunes), and the single Mama Afrika produced by Emmy™ winning Emmai Allaquiva. She has also collaborated on voice work for AWC. Her camera and editing credits include Wade in the Water/Kuomboka, a collaboration with Haitian American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain funded by the Heinz Endowments, Pittsburgh Foundation, and Fundación Legorreta Hernández. This show will tour Mexico in 2024 through her non-profit Global Posse Productions, Inc. Her short-form video content includes kinetic texts, animated digital landscapes, and digital haiku.

A Sundance Fellow with the South African Screenwriters Lab (SCRAWL), Mukwae has written several screenplays, stage plays, and adaptations from novels.

Mukwae is a journalist and contributor to Afropop and writes reviews, articles, and blogs for ITVS and the Paris-based peer-reviewed journal on African Art and Design, Afrikaada.

Her scholarly profile as a professor of Theatre Arts at Towson University, University of Namibia, The Norwegian Theatre Academy, and Østfold University College reflects her exploration of Orature (African spiritual and performative practices) to engage the public in redefining representation and citizenship. This informs her work in social policy and advocacy as a diplomat with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), Brussels, and the Chairperson General of the Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA). Mukwae is the recipient of multiple awards, including a Virginia Hero and Tazama Heshima Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to Women in African Cinema. She is featured in the book Sisters of the Screen: Women of Africa on Film, Video and Television by Beti Ellerson and Staging New Britain: Aspects of Black and South Asian British Theatre Practice edited by Geoffrey V. Davis and Anne Fuchs.

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