Cynthia Shange biography: age, children, Miss World, stunning pictures as Miss SA, TV shows

Cynthia Shange biography: age, children, Miss World, stunning pictures as Miss SA, TV shows

If you are not a fan of Cynthia Shange yet, what are you waiting for? We have gathered everything there is to know about the culture shifting South African model and actress. She is not afraid to use her position of power to speak her mind to support her colleagues. Here we have the details from her age to her children, the Miss World pageant with stunning pictures at the Miss SA pageant and everything in between. We have it all on the former Muvhango actress.

mzansi actor
Cynthia is a famous actress and former beauty queen. Photo: @MuvhangoSA
Source: Twitter

Cynthia Shange is one of South Africa’s most recognizable faces owing to her modelling and acting careers. She has shattered barriers and has been a part of making South African history; by being the first black SA representative in the Miss World competition in 1972.

Cynthia Shange biography

  • Birth name: Cynthia Shange
  • Date of birth: 1949
  • Cynthia Shange age: 72 years in 2021
  • Place of birth: Lamontville, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
  • Cynthia Shange husband: Derrick
  • Children: 4
  • Career: Modelling, acting
  • Movies: Isivumelwano (1978), Inkedama (1975) and u'Deliwe (1975)
  • TV shows: Muvhango, Shaka Zulu (1986 - 1989)
  • Started modelling: 1970
  • Beauty pageants: Miss Natal, Miss South Africa
  • Associated acts: Joe Mafela, Henry Cele
  • Tiles: Miss Natal, Miss Africa South
  • Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award (2009)

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Cynthia Shange early life

She was born in the year 1949, which makes Cynthia Shange age about 72 years at the time of writing this. She was born in the Lamontville region of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Her exact date of birth remains a mystery. She started modelling in her early 20's in 1970 and was an instant hit.


Cynthia Shange was a model in her younger years, and as she grew older, she went into acting. Her pivot from the beauty industry to the entertainment industry was thriving as she featured in several high profile shows.

Cynthia Shange wikipedia
Cynthia Shange is legendary in the entertainment industry, as both a stunning beauty queen and actress. Photo: @Sigujana_ZA
Source: Twitter

Modelling career

Her start in modelling began in 1970, and she was successful almost immediately by winning the Miss Natal title. Her win gave her the chance to qualify and win the Miss South Africa competition, getting the title Miss Africa South. Her second win resulted in her qualifying and competing in the Miss World competition in 1972; she represented South Africa as Miss Africa South.

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Cynthia Shange miss world
Colourised picture of Cynthia Shange from the Miss World pageant. Photo:, @nolithandlazi (colourised by author)
Source: Twitter

It is to be noted that there were two titles in South Africa during her era at the time, as a result of apartheid. One for the white contestants, Miss South Africa, while the title for the black contestants was Miss Africa South.

In 2018, there was a controversy involving Miss South Africa as they celebrated 60 years. The pageant was not keen on inviting the black models who represented the country in the Miss World competitions, including Cynthia Shange. Since the country separated the black and white contestants, they were later expelled from the Miss World competition in 1976. In her own words:

They never invite me to Miss SA pageants. I was with Miss Africa South and not Miss SA; maybe they take it as a different title. I am turning 70 years old next year, so my mind is on other things. I'm not concerned right now about beauty pageants.

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Cynthia Shange Miss World 1972
Cynthia Shange in London in 1972 for the Miss World competition. Photo: @valavoosh
Source: Twitter

Cynthia Shange filmography

Following her run in modelling and fame from being Miss SA, she transitioned into acting. She made history by appearing in South Africa’s first-ever black feature film titled Udeliwe in 1975. That same year she was part of another film, Inkedama, and in 1978, she was part of the cast of Isivumelwano.

Eight years later, in 1986, we saw Cynthia Shange in the Shaka Zulu cast where she played Mkabi in the five-part miniseries till the show's completion in 1989. Shaka Zulu was a major hit and was beloved in the international community, solidifying her role as a star, especially at home in South Africa.

Cynthia Shange spouse
Cynthia Shange at the beginning of her exciting career. Photo: @Sigujana_ZA
Source: Twitter

Her most recent notable role was as MaNkosi Buthelezi, the mother to Thandaza from Muvhango on SABC2. During her run on the show, which was a long 18 years, she garnered controversy when she spoke on the industry's ills. In March 2017, she said the following:

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I have been with Muvhango for 18 years, but each year I sign a new contract. I cannot get a loan because I am not permanently employed. You can squeeze your salary to get medical aid, but if you lose a job in that period, it lapses.

She was seen speaking for the less powerful people on the cast and crew since another source that chose to remain anonymous supported her words, saying the following:

We are still given one-year contracts. I don't know why because it is supposed to be three years, and no one is doing much to help.

Cynthia Shange family

Cynthia Shange biography: age, children, Miss World, stunning pictures as Miss SA, TV shows
Cynthia Shange and Nonhle Thema when they were both younger. Photo: @nonhle_thema
Source: Instagram

She has four children, namely Banele, Sihle, Archie and Nonle Thema. Yes, the super famous Nonle Thema is Cynthia Shange's daughter. She has several tributes to her mother on her Instagram page @nonhle_thema.

That concludes our biography of Cynthia Shange. Do you think it is fair for the Miss South Africa pageant to exclude the black contestants from the apartheid era? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Source: Briefly News

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