‘Intombi Yes’godi’ or according to Greek mythology the goddess of love, courage and wisdom ‘Athena’ best describes the composition that makes Aluta Humbane a re-incarnation of greatness. Melvin Mzamo Humbane (1987) was born into a mixed cultural nuances of a Mozambiquen father and South African mother, in the humble semi-rural township of Inanda, Emachobeni.
This revolutionary leader, writer, actor, musician, social entrepreneur, cultural and LGBTi activist is a peaceful fighter against the darkness that attempts to blur light.
The context in which many LGBTi in South Africa is very challenging and his was no exception, infact credits ‘Idlozi’ (ancestors) for his existence and believes without it maybe would’ve died.
Raised by a single parent ‘Ntokazi Mthembu’ and late grandmother Duduzile Joyce, life was both bitter and sweet, the absence of a men in the household created many challenges, but also unlocked great opportunity for strength and creativity.
He recalls that he had to sell, door to door popcorn around the neighbourhood; and at a later stage his grandmother who worked as a domestic worker in Durban North baked so they could sell the scones which taught him entrepreneurial; and people skills.
The mud house he lived in as a child propelled his ambitious desire to succeed against all odds as when it rained no one would sleep in fear that the house would collapse.
Growing up in Inanda with no form of entertainment or resources, the late Makhulu Hlophe introduced performing arts in an old deteriorating building, where he was the only boy.
This was the birth of an alternative way of approaching life, later that year his grandmother bought a black and white battery powered television which introduced a new life where he could escape from his realities through sitcoms which offered a light side of life, comedies such as family matters and Amen on TV1 exposed his imagination to the illusion of staging performances.
The limitation aroused by the economic challenge of not being able to watch it for lengthy periods of time as it consumed a lot of battery. It’s a different world when you dream in black and white, colors was created by the imagination which saw itself replacing these characters onstage.
It was at that point he acknowledges the arts ‘have a really special & mystical ways of making the hardships of life simple, of broadening ones horizons into endless possibilities, the music has the ability to travel through time and uncharted, unknown territories, a simple melody can make you cry or laugh, no unseen powers bestowed to man has that ability to achieve that without any ideology.
The advent of democracy in South Africa saw him being amongst the few township youth to be enrolled in a multiracial school in 1995 where his primary school career began in Redfern Primary in Phoenix, there, his remarkable grasp of the English language due to watching TV and a supportive domestic worker grandmother ensured he stood out, not so much for his flamboyant qualities, but acting skill which saw him becoming a child star in Phoenix as he acted impersonating his favourite character from family matters ‘Steve herckle’ This exposed him to many opportunities as he was seen a youth ambassador of note. And thus officials used him in many government awareness campaigns in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
The outbreak of HIV-AIDS meant South Africa needed to inform people about the pandemic, Aluta became one of those people who received extensive training on the subject as to use it in awareness productions that ultimately led him to participate in the love life games Africa for drama as a director and Actor.
Amidst being celebrated he became the first black child to model for Woolworths fashion show in Durban. The love for the stage grew and as he was celebrated his sexuality took centre stage as an adolescent child he did not know where he belonged. His mannerism were very feminine, he was teased a lot which started to impact his confidence and started to grow into himself.
Being ostracised also compelled him to work harder as he felt he had a point to prove to everyone who saw me different.
The transition from primary school to high school was a very challenging one as he had to foster his twin sisters as his mother studied far from home coming back during holidays. Family challenges also saw him renting and working after school in Umhlanga at a restaurant Spur from grade 10 till he matriculated in 2005.
Post-secondary school (2005) moved to Johannesburg to pursue his dream for acting, but was met by the hard realities of the South African entertainment industry of drugs and alcohol, and abuse of power. Umoja (2006) was his first big break, followed by a show at the Market theatre called ‘Gogo’s Grove’ (2006).
On returning to Durban (2010) he faced a depressing period in his life in 3 years losing his grandmother whom was his rock, 3 uncles and 1 aunt whom were not well and father and a brother to homicide, leaving him with only his mother Ntokazi, twin sisters and the children of the deceased.
Regardless of the challenges he has always been reminded of the mud house and was fuelled by the spirit of his grandmother, He achieved a BA Degree in Drama & Performance and Media & Cultural studies from UKZN Howard College (2012), A Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Edgewood Campus (2013); and a LUCCA International Leadership Certificate.
Aluta’s passion for humanitarian work has seen him work in Durban LGBTI NGO advocating for LGBTI human rights and well-being. UKZN College of Humanities as a mentor and volunteering in local NGO’s. Becoming the first batch of producers to open the newly foundered community radio station, Vibe FM in Kwa Mashu.
He is currently in an Australian based Organization (Spark Changemakers*) network of change makers in South Africa through an organization he founded, called “Injongo Movement” in Inanda. (Focusing on arts for a change)
In past four years has written and directed 2 Dramatic plays which aims to create awareness through shock, the issues of homophobia, woman abuse and negative impacts of a Gesellschaft community.
Which has toured Durban and used in 16 Days of Activism campaigns, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.
He became a Playhouse resident Performer and singer from period 2009 to 2016 and also volunteers at Inanda Community Radio as an art show contributor and guest show host ;a writer for an LGBTi publication, Uniq magazine SA.
He has received two awards, one from UKZN Humanities College for outstanding Mentor (2011); and the Pink Feather Award for Most Influential Gay person in Durban (2010)
In April 2017 after suffering multiple anxiety attacks and surviving cardiac arrest he resigned from the Department of education where he was a teacher 2013 -2017 at Avonford Secondary to pursue completing his solo music album “Identity “through his production company Aluta Humbane Productions, he has also foundered a social media marketing and management company called Paradigm Shift PR, and is the Director of the non-profit NGO in Inanda called Ínjongo Movement which he foundered in 2011 to create a youth leadership academy and performing arts theatre in Inanda. Inspired by great people such as his mother Ntokazi, Zanele Muholi, Mapule Indlovukazi, high school teacher Mrs Reddy wife of the late businessman Dr Reddy, His aunt Mozambiquen superstar aunt Lizah James Humbane and Mozambique business and Medical Uncle and aunt Dr Langa and Aunt Dedita who continuously mentors him.
“The struggle continues, victory is certain” is Aluta Humbane’s life journey. “In all my adversities I believe now is the time for me to live, second chance in life are very rare, and I am determined to be myself, and take over the world, to change the wold”.
The contributions of great people such Zanele Muholi, Mrs Reddy, late mamu Busi Mhlongo, Abigail Kubheka, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Linda Bukhosini, Kipi Skweyiya,Mapule Msane, Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Deborah fraser, Thembi Nyandeni,Dr Miranda young, Professor Portgeiter, Duma Ndlovu, Somizi Mhlongo in our interaction has had such profound contribution in my life, and I am certain each of you have planted the seed that manifest itself.
He is excited after returning from a tour with visual activist Zanele Muholi in New York where he had the opportunity to perform and launch, his first solo music project as part of Muholi’s New York take in Performa 17 Biennial which ran for two weeks and held performances in historical venues such as Schomberg Centre (Harlem), Richard Jansen museum (Manhattan), Leslie Lohman museum (Manhattan), Stonewall Inn (Manhattan), Bronx museum (Bronx), Bronx Arts Academy of Dance (Harlem), The public-Arts (Manhattan). And set to tour Mozambique ahead of releasing his solo music single ‘Nami ngithanda Indoda’ taken from his much anticipated solo album “Identity”.