Story-Teller, Motivational

Based: Johannesburg

Born and bred in the historic township of Alexandra, Kitty Phetla, who started classical dance training from an early age, matriculated at The National School of the Arts in 2001. Her dance training began in primary school with Martin Schönberg, where she was discovered at the age of 9 to be part of a training programme for young potentials.  As a student, she was part of dance productions such as “Giselle” and “Voila!” and was one of the founding members of Schönberg’s Ballet Theatre Afrikan (1998 – 2002). Receiving many awards and participating in international ballet competitions such as the Prix de Lausanne, the Cecchetti Ballet Competition in Australia and the Helsinki Ballet Competition, Kitty has also become a skilled dance teacher and practitioner and received her Cecchetti International Teachers Qualification in 2002.

Her extensive travelling has seen her grace the stages in Amsterdam, Switzerland, Australia, Dubai, Germany, England, China and Zimbabwe. More recently Kitty has performed across Russia as the first black dancer to embody the famous Dying Swan on stage. Her performance threw a defiant gaze over the past and opened a proud new chapter for African artists. By special request, Phetla was given the honour of performing the Dying Swan to Nelson Mandela.

Her choreographic credits include the full-length neo-classical ballet “Carmina Burana” for Joburg Ballet – performed to a full piece orchestra and operatic ensemble.

Kitty works as a senior soloist at the Joburg Ballet, performing in full-scale ballet seasons throughout the year and contributing to contemporary projects with her distinct style of choreography. 

Another feather in Kitty’s hat is that of a radio presenter. Starting her radio career at community radio station Alex FM and now featuring on Radio 2000 with her own headline show, The Moonlight Cruise. 

Kitty Phetla has been selected as one of the 21 Icons of South Africa. 21 Icons is a celebration of the lives of men and women who have shaped the world around them for the better. Inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela, it tells the stories of people like Kitty Phetla who have continued his legacy – whose lives have made the world a better place. The project celebrates those who have achieved success and widespread recognition.

Kitty was bestowed with one of the highest honours in South African arts and culture and was named the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year 2019 for Dance.

As an artistic individual and an independent woman challenging the norms of society, Kitty Phetla serves as a beacon of light to all and a pillar of strength in the face of adversity.