Nomsa Manaka is a well-known Soweto-born dancer, choreographer and actress who runs The Nomsa Manaka Dance Studio operating from Funda Centre in Diepkloof. She initially sought to become Africa’s best ballerina. She arrived in America in 1996 at The Dance Theatre of Haarlem on a scholarship, to pursue her dream. The excitement was thick in the air as her peers waited for her to show them indigenous dances from South Africa. Much to their disappointment, Nomsa knew nothing about indigenous dances. This set her on a course to learn and teach indigenous dances.
The Nomsa Manaka Dance Studio aims to empower children as well as teach them about their culture through dance. Over time, Nomsa has witnessed how dance can transform and develop children into well-developed adults.
With a keen focus on developing youth through indigenous dance, The Nomsa Manaka Dance Studio secured funding from the National Arts Council for a Freedom Day celebration performance and workshop of various indigenous dances called ‘Dance Your Soul’. The project provided temporary employment for 24 young people under 35 years old. It was presented at the Funda Centre for audiences comprising of the community and seasoned dancers. The day began with a workshop to discuss indigenous dances and then concluded with a presentation of ‘Dance Your Soul’ for the invited audience. After the performance, the youngsters had a chance to interact with the audience who imparted some much-needed knowledge.