Xoliswa Sithole (born 31 December 1968) is a South African actress and documentary filmmaker, raised in Zimbabwe. she won a BAFTA in 2004 for her documentary Orphans Of Nkandla. She won a Peabody Award in 2010 and a BAFTA in 2011 for her documentary Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children.

Xoliswa Sithole
Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Sithole, Peabody Awards ceremony, May 2011
Born (1968-12-31) 31 December 1968 (age 55)
EducationUniversity of Zimbabwe
AwardsPeabody Award (2010); BAFTA Award (2011); BAFTA Award (2004)

Early life


Xoliswa Sithole was born in South Africa and raised in Zimbabwe after 1970. Her mother died from complications related to HIV/AIDS in 1995.[1] Her stepfather's cousin, Ndabaningi Sithole, was a founder of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and assassinated lawyer and politician Edison Sithole (1935–1975) was her cousin.[2] She earned a degree in English from the University of Zimbabwe in 1987.



As a documentary filmmaker, Xoliswa Sithole created and starred in Shouting Silent (2002, 2011), a film about her own family's experience with HIV/AIDS,[3][4] and directed Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children (2010).[5] Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children won a Peabody Award in 2010. She was associate producer on The Orphans of Nkandla (2004), making Sithole the first South African woman to win a BAFTA award.[6] Her films have regularly appeared on the programs at the African Film Festival New York, and other international film festivals.[7] In 1999, she was South Africa's ambassador at the Cannes Film Festival.[8]

Sithole produced South Africa from Triumph to Transition and Mandela for CNN Prime Time, and the series Real Lives for South African television. Other film and television projects by Sithole include Child of the Revolution (2005–2015), The First South African, Return to Zimbabwe, Martine and Thandeka (2009), South Africa's Lost Girls, and The Fall (2016). "I have only one desire in life," she told interviewer Audrey McCluskey, "Only one – to create images that change the world."[9]

Acting appearances by Sithole include roles in the films Cry Freedom (1987), Mandela (1987, television), Fools, and Chikin Biznis.


  1. ^ Elayne Fluker, "A Filmmaker Tackles a Taboo" Essence (August 2002): 94. via ProQuest.
  2. ^ Xoliswa Sithole, "Zimbabwe's forgotten children, struggling to survive", BBC News (2 March 2010).
  3. ^ Xoliswa Sithole, Women Make Movies.
  4. ^ Charlayne Hunter-Gault, New News Out of Africa: Uncovering Africa's Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2006). ISBN 9780190292201.
  5. ^ Gladys Ganiel, "Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children: Review of the Documentary by Xoliswa Sithole" Building a Church without Walls (22 March 2010).
  6. ^ Noor-Jehan Yoro Badat and Kashiefa Ajam, "No room in the Jumbo for winning filmmaker" IOL (23 April 2005).
  7. ^ Xoliswa Sithole, African Film Festival New York.
  8. ^ Speaker profile: Xoliswa Sithole, World Affairs.
  9. ^ Audrey T. McCluskey, The Devil You Dance With: Film Culture in the New South Africa (University of Illinois Press, 2010): 213. ISBN 9780252091865