Nonhlanhla Kheswa grew up between two hardscrabble townships of Johannesburg-- Alexandra and Soweto--and professes to love them both equally. She credits several primary school teachers with instilling in her a love of storytelling and singing. She attended Soweto's Morris Isaacson High School, where--two decades before Kheswa's time there, more precisely, from June 13–16, 1976--the Soweto Uprising, a turning point in South African political history, had been set in motion by Teboho Mashinini and other students. Before leaving school in 1998 Kheswa was recruited by South African film and television director Darrell Roodt (Sarafina!; Cry, the Beloved Country; Dangerous Ground; Winnie Mandela) for a role in his Soul City. On the heels of that, the illustrious composer and producer Lebohang Morake snatched her up for Disney's The Lion King, where she cut her teeth on Broadway for over five years.