Promoting the performing arts


What We Do

The Naledi Theatre Awards have been in existence for 15 years and is recognised as the Premier Awards Event on the Gauteng Theatre Calendar. Our mission is to recognize and reward excellence in the Performing Arts, to raise the profile of Live Theatre and to create awareness of the abundant talent alive and well on our South African stages. The Naledi Theatre Awards has honoured 62 Lifetime Achievers: veteran artistes, technicians and administrators who have dedicated their lives to South African Theatre while paying tribute to people in the arts who have taken their final bows during the year under review. The Naledi Theatre Awards covers all mainstream professional productions from the period 1 January to 1 December of the previous year and the Naledi Judges typically evaluate over 100 productions in 30 categories. The Naledi Panel of Judges consists of informed and regular theatregoers, academics and members of the media covering the arts in Johannesburg. 


To recognise and reward excellence in South African Live Theatre and the Performing Arts


  • To raise the profile of South African theatre
  • To stage a world-class awards event annually that includes entertainment from productions staged during the year under review
  • To become branded as the most respected award system for live theatre in South Africa
  • To hold a mirror to live theatre in South Africa and reflect what is staged on our stages during each calendar year
  • To sustain a national television media partner and thereby further popularize the performing arts industry to a wider cross-section of the population
  • To build new audiences of the future who will become regular theatre-goers
  • To recognize and reward young emerging producers and performers
  • To recognize theatre for children and young audiences
  • To identify and secure partners for funding and sponsorship in order to sustain and grow the Naledi Theatre Awards in all these spheres


18A, NPO (Non Profit Organisation) Reg No. 2005/043456/08.

Naledi is registered for VAT: 4120245073

Eligibility Information

Please click here should you require additional information in lieu of our judging panel, voting procedure, criteria for judging and eligibility. 

Eligibility and Additional Information (pdf)


Naledi board

Dr John Kani



International Award-winning Playwright and Director

Dawn Lindberg



Founder of the Naledi Awards and appointed Living Legend with husband Des, by the Minister of Arts & Culture. Entertainer and Independent Theatre Producer for 55 years.

Maishe Maponye


Non-Executive Deputy Chairperson

Writer, Director and Arts Activist

Kgomotso Christopher


Non-Executive Chairperson

TV and Stage Actress, MC, BA (Law and Politics from UCT); Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University, USA

Sello Maake Ka Ncube


Non-Executive Deputy Chairperson

TV and Stage Actor, Director and Producer

Mbongeni Ngema


Non-Executive Chairperson 

Mbongeni is an award-winning writer, lyricist, composer, director and theatre producer. As a librettist, Ngema has written the musical soundtrack for Sarafina and produced the movie's soundtrack alongside Quincy Jones.  

Lihan Pretorius


Executive & Legal Director 

Head of Legal at LEAD Group of Companies, Lecturer in Law of Civil Procedure at the Law Society of South Africa and  a Rugby Referee

Des Lindberg


Executive & Technical Director 

Renowned Script and Lyric writer. Entertainer and Independent Theatre Producer for 55 years. Former Chairman of Chairman of TMSA for 22 years. Living Legend with wife Dawn by the Minister of Arts & Culture

Renos Spanoudes


Chairman of Judging Panel

Playwright, Actor, Presenter of Hellenic Radio, Drama Teacher at King David Victory Park and Chairman of the Judges’ Panel

Hemant Vanmali


Finance & Audit Risk

Corporate Accountant and Specialist in Compliance

Anthony Chait (Consultant)


Finance & Audit Risk

Former independent non-executive director at South African Reserve Bank and founder Zeridium tax and exchange control advisory consultancy

Who We Are

About Des & Dawn


The Naledi Theatre Awards was conceived by Dawn Lindberg in 2004 and she and Des have almost single-handedly built it into the biggest and most respected Awards Event in South Africa to recognise and honour excellence in Live Theatre. Des and Dawn Lindberg are both Living Legends, having received this accolade by the Minister of Arts & Culture, Mr Nkosinathi Emmanuel "Nathi" Mthethwa


Des was born in Johannesburg and was educated at St. John's College and Wits (BA in English, Zulu, African Politics). In addition to this, he has a Diploma in Lighting & Stage Design from Salzburg. The 1960s was a period marked by Folk music and coffee bars, and Des led the scene at the Troubadour in Doornfontein. His Gold Discs include "Die Gezoem Van die Bye" and "Seagull's Name was Nelson". Des was the former Chairman of TMSA (Theatre Management of SA) for 22 years and on the Boards of the State Theatre and the Joburg Civic Theatres for 5 years each, as well as Vice-Chairman of the NGO PROMAT Colleges and Trust. Des is a renowned script and lyric writer and specializes in writing corporate songs and scripts. He is fond of cricket, fishing, and red wine. 


Dawn was born in Durban and was educated at Parktown Girls High. Her vast study experience includes AFS Scholar (Detroit, USA); BA Fine Arts (Wits); Diploma Etching (Urbino, Italy); and Stage Design (Salzburg). She holds Double Gold for her "Fat Off" fitness tape. She co-authored "How Did I Begin?" a book of facts for young children. Dawn directs and designs all CAT Corporate and Stage Productions. She is a motivational speaker who tours her shows "Every Day is an Opening Night", "Unfreeze Your Speaking Assets" and is the past president of Soroptimists International of the Highveld, Executive Director of the Naledi Theatre Awards and a previous Chairperson of TMSA. Dawn was the Contributing Editor of the book “Soweto” with photos by Peter Magubane. Des & Dawn have two sons, Joshua and Adam. Dawn has a passion for theatre, art movies, elephants, cats, sushi and chardonnay. 


"Folk-on-Trek", "Folk Trek", "Godspell", "The Black Mikado", "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas", "Pippin", "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" (Vita Award for Best Production), "Lennon", "I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road", "When I was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout", "A, My Name is Alice", "King Afrika", "Wannabe Gonnabe", "Popcorn" (6 Vita Awards), "Sex, Tango and Everything Else", "Des, Dawn & Nico", "The Vagina Monologues" (Naledi Theatre Award for Best Ensemble), "The Good Body", "Des & Dawn Still Truckin", and "Unicorns, Spiders & Dragon's Tales" (a show created for children).

Learn More About Des & Dawn Lindberg

Des and Dawn Lindberg are two of South Africa’s most prominent theatrical personalities. Their influence in the South African Theatre Industry has been far reaching and significant. Click the link before to read all about their fascinating and colourful past that began in the early 1960s when they met at university. They bought a caravan, packed up their guitars and two cats and toured South Africa and the then Rhodesia, visiting small towns and cities along the way with their legendary show, Folk on Trek

Visit their website

naledi team