Did you know Cynthia Shange was the first black model to represent South Africa at Miss World in 1972?

Without a question, she is one of Mzansi’s legends, generating headlines with their unrivaled talents. Cynthia Shange is a South African actress and former model best known for her role as MaNkosi Buthelezi in the television series Muvhango.


We can all agree that Shange is the most famous face because to her modeling and acting achievements. The experienced actress and model was born in 1949 in the Lamontville area of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

When it comes to acting, no doubt her Muvhango on-screen character of MaNkosi Buthelezi’s will take her to the grave. Whilst on Muvhango cast, the bubbly actress starred as Thandaza mother.
Shange was thrust into the limelight when she ventured into modelling back then, in 1970. Since her debut into modelling, she has been an overnight success, and her first contest saw her win the Miss Natal beauty pageant.

Her Miss Natal crown offered her an opportunity to contest for Miss South Africa, and she did that and came out as a winner. She did not just win the contest but was somehow the first Miss Black South Africa.

However, a few months later, she represented South Africa at the Miss World competition in 1972. Following her run in modelling and fame from being Miss SA, she transitioned into acting.

In the midst of her Miss World campaign in 1972, she scored big when she landed a role on tiny screens. It appears that she not only landed a job, but also made history as the first black person to appear in a major project. She appeared in the film Udeliwe.

A few years later, she joined the Shaka Zulu ensemble, playing Mkabi in the five-part mini-series. Undoubtedly, her great career was crowned with laurels. She is a seasoned actress who has received the prestigious Golden Horn Award for both her performance and her lifetime achievement. Shange has undoubtedly become one of Mzansi’s most beloved golden oldies.