I am Soka Mthembu
I am a Zulu dancer, Artistic & Creative Director, a storyteller with profound interest in Culture, Heritage and Tourism.
I tell stories that do not only comprise anecdotes about buildings, scenery, landscapes, culture, and wildlife. I’m fascinated by stories about human beings, who despite not being classified affluent, lead extraordinary lives, and whose wealth is far more profound than mere material riches.
At the age of 11, while a schoolboy, I cut my teeth on cultural tourism when I joined Simunye Zulu Lodge as a Zulu dancer. Barry Leitch, the renowned cultural consultant and entrepreneur, co-founded Shakaland, and later Simunye Zulu Lodge. It was under the guidance and mentorship of this stalwart in the industry that I went on to become the director of Simunye Zulu Lodge, having previously held various positions, amongst others: Front Office Manager, Reservations Manager, and Marketing & General Manager. I was also greatly instrumental in the building of the Sibaya Cultural Village – Zulu Fire (later converted to Mangwanani Spa), at which I conducted auditions, selecting my troupe from eager KwaZulu-Natal candidates. I then ably managed a cast of 40 performers.
Large corporate companies at which I have been employed include: Protea Hotels, Three Cities Hotels & Safari Lodge, and Aha Hotels & Lodges. I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Simunye Project Inc, a not-for-profit charity organization registered in the USA but serving the impoverished communities around Melmoth. I have training and experience in business management, and sales & marketing, office administration, and customer services. I am the founder and Artistic Director of Beyond Zulu Experience – one of South Africa’s leading cultural entertainment companies, a forerunner in the development and production of cultural and traditional entertainment.
Over the years I’ve had people (lots of them) say things about me, and for this blog I selected only the nicest ones:-)
Soka is Awesome
Soka is Curious
Soka is Strategic
Soka is Cool
Soka is Creative
Soka is Intuitive
Soka is a Legend
Soka is a Gem
Soka is Crazy (as a compliment:-)
Soka is an Ambassador, a Poet and great Intellect (I was like, really?!)