As Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT) continues to implement its 2020 Strategic Vision, the company is seeing a significant emergence of female leadership from what has been a predominantly male-run organisation over the years. Lulu Mlangeni, a celebrated dancer and choreographer, and Lindiwe Letwaba, a specialist in risk management and now VDT’s CEO, have forged a very strong unit to take the company to new heights.
Lindiwe Letwaba specialises in risk management, internal audit, financial management, tax administration and the management of trusts and foundations. Letwaba holds a BCom (Finance) from Unisa and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
She played an integral role in setting up Vuyani Dance Company, a for profit entity that was created to help decrease Vuyani Dance Theatre’s dependence on grant funding by diversifying the organisation’s income as a sustainability intervention. This for-profit organisation allows VDT to continue to nurture and develop talent in the creative arts sector.
Letwaba comments, ‘To have a dance industry legend like Gregory Maqoma entrust me, a simple girl from Soweto, with the management of his world-acclaimed company was both a humbling experience and an opportunity for me to prove to myself that I am capable and well-equipped for the job through all the years of studies I have been through.
At Vuyani, gender has no direct bearing on issues of being considered for any position or role, Lulu’s talent and capabilities were the predominant factors in her selection for the role
At Vuyani, gender has no direct bearing on issues of being considered for any position or role, Lulu’s talent and capabilities were the predominant factors in her selection for the role.’
Creatively, Vuyani Dance Theatre has been driven by the founder, Gregory Maqoma, and as the company grows, Lulu Mlangeni is progressively taking over the creative direction. Lulu Mlangeni’s career took off after she won the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance in 2010. Since then, she has carved a name for herself in the dance sector and has performed to much acclaim both nationally and internationally. In 2014, she was the inaugural recipient of the Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award. The Award, which is the brainchild of the Market Theatre’s Artistic Director, James Ngcobo, was created to recognise creative talent that is breaking boundaries. Over her career, Mlangeni has become an activist for women, showing audiences the strength behind ordinary women. In her recent work, which premiered at The Market Theatre in January 2018, she brings under the spotlight the lives of women who embrace challenges, break societal barriers and fight oppressive systems to survive. The work celebrates women who have endured discrimination, hardships in their lives and who inspire and provide optimism for the future.