Mfundi Vundla

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Serves on the NFVF council & provides guidance and input across all IPO committees as required. Mfundi is the sixth child of a family of 11. He was born on 10 September 1946, in Western Native Township, Johannesburg.

Mfundi’s mother was a nurse and his father a clerk at the Crown Mines Hospital when they met. Education was always emphasized in the Vundla household. Mfundi went to primary school in Jo’burg and up until Standard 8 (Form III), he attended school in Healdtown, in the Eastern Cape. He matriculated in Johannesburg at Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto. From there he went on to Fort Hare University and enrolled for a BA in Politics, Philosophy and English. In 1968 he was expelled from the university for underground political activity. Mfundi went into exile in the USA in August 1970. He continued with his education, remaining an active member of the ANC. In 1972 he completed a BA in Politics and English at the University of Massachusetts, then went on to graduate with a Master’s degree in Education from Boston University.

In 1973 he met Karen, whom he married in 1976. The Vundlas moved to New York where Mfundi worked both as a fund-raiser for the Funding Exchange (a foundation supporting local and international grassroots organisations) and as a playwright, highlighting the social injustices of apartheid in his work.

In 1986, the Vundla’s moved to California where both Mfundi and Karen worked as television writers for David Milch, creator of NYPD Blue and writer for Hill Street Blues. Along with other South Africans, Mfundi helped found the African Arts Fund which raised money to bring Black, Coloured and Indian South Africans to the United States to study fine arts. The fund helped educate several well-known South African artists, photographers, dancers and musicians.

As an active member of the ANC, Mfundi gave speeches in California to raise awareness about apartheid, fighting for its abolition. After the dismantling of apartheid, Mfundi came back to settle in South Africa in 1992. His wife and son joined him in 1993.

In 1993, an opportunity arose to submit a proposal for a soap opera to the SABC. Mfundi created Generations, which has had an enormous impact on South Africans, being the first local television show to focus on the needs, dreams and aspirations of black people. It is the most popular show on television with the highest ratings across all channels. Now in its 18th year of screening, it is still the number one rated show on SABC.

In 2000 Mfundi obtained a contract with e-TV for a new youth soap opera, and so Backstage was born. Mfundi broke new ground with the show, using it to develop and showcase South African talent.

Mfundi was also the Executive Producer of the movie In My Country, which stars Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche.

He is also the Executive Producer, of the award winning children’s animated television series Magic Cellar, with SABC. Magic Cellar has won over 29 international awards.

Mfundi is also created, a medical drama Jozi-H. The series, inspired by Johannesburg General Hospital was a Canadian-South Africa co-production. It was a groundbreaking series for South Africa as it was shot on 35mm film, it was also the most expensive South African television show ever to be produced with a budget of over R100 million for 13 episodes.

In 2011 in produced the highly rated Opera based on the life of famed icon Winnie Mandela called “Winnie the Opera”. He also produced the movie “How to steal 2 million”, which received great reviews.

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