Nandi Jola is a poet, storyteller and playwright born in Nelson Mandela, South Africa. Growing up under the apartheid regime, resiliently and defiantly, Nandi started writing poetry at the age of fourteen. She founded the ‘nandijproject’ in 2010 with the vision of tackling women trafficking and sexual exploitation. She participated in a public performance and discussion with Raquel McKee reflecting on her work, the development of her practice and her experiences as an artist. She explored the place of performance writers in the field of artistic practice and public policies for the arts as well as discussing the challenges and opportunities facing these seemingly solitary artists in developing their work.
Living most of her life in Northern Ireland, her work reflects both Belfast and Africa, personal learning of her South African identity and the many connections that the people of Ireland have with South Africa.
Nandi is highly praised in Northern Ireland and internationally. Her debut poetry collection, Home Is Neither Here Nor There, (a title taken from her Exhibition in Stormont’s Long Gallery in 2013) will be published in Spring/Summer 2022 with Doire Press. Her many published anthologies have been recognised and awarded, such as Arlen House “Her Other Language” and she is one of participants in the 2121 Ambiguities Project with Quotidian - Word on the Street.
Nandi is one of the 2021 BBC writer's room Hothouse chosen writers and one of the six writers on the Six Projects commissioned by the Arts Council NI and Brassneck Theatre Company to write a screenplay. Her play “The Journey” opened the prestigious International Literature Festival Dublin in October 2020.
Nandi is a cultural ambassador and works in schools throughout Northern Ireland delivering cultural awareness workshops. In 2018 she co-founded She-Wolf Theatre Collective, following a sold-out performance of “The Vagina Monologues”, giving a platform for female writers and performers and speaking up about issues women face today. She is also a creative writing facilitator for Projects such as Same-Difference, Ensemble Colours, Phenomenal Women and In My Own Words.