Born in Gugulethu in Cape Town, Mamela Nyamza trained as a dancer at the ZAMA DANCE SCHOOL and later at the Pretoria Dance Technikon where she received a National Diploma in Ballet. In 1998 she received a scholarship to further her studies in dance at the ALVIN Ailey American Dance centre. After her graduation Mamela joined the State Theatre Dance Company where she performed nationally and internationally.
Whilst appearing as a dancer in major international musicals, such as The Lion King, We Will Rock You and African Footprints, Mamela Nyamza simultaneously started to develop her own artistic practice, developing choreographies which deal with important political and social issues of today’s South Africa.
Since 2006 she has dedicated her career to her own choreography which brought about autobiographical works such as HATCH, KUTHENI, SHIFT and HATCHED. All of these works have been part of the Johannesburg’s Dance Umbrella. HATCHED was also part of the Dance Umbrella in the UK at The Place in 2011.
Mamela Nyamza has appeared at The Bates Dance Festival and in Slovenia, in Italy and Switzerland, running workshops and performances. In 2012, she directed a hip hop dance theatre - the fi rst of its kind in South Africa. Her most recent work OKUYA PHANTSI KWEMPUMLO was awarded The Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in 2012.
In her most recent project, Mamela Nyamza collaborated with the UK-based artist Mojisola Adebayo in I STAND CORRECTED which was premiered in South Africa and ran at the Oval House in London for three weeks.