Wednesday, May 19, 2010
CALL HER SNAKE GIRL, NOKULUNGA BUTHELEZI A PHENOMENAL STAR FROM SOUTH AFRICA
Her nickname is Snakegirl - and just one look at her extraordinary stage act reveals why.
The 18-year-old contortionist, who dresses in a snakeskin costume, is amazing audiences with her incredible poses and eye-watering gyrations.
Nokulunga Buthelezi is so naturally flexible that her mother found her asleep one day when she was three - with her legs tucked behind her neck.
Six years later, the young girl from South Africa joined a touring circus in the United States and is now a major star of Afrika! Afrika!, a £4.2million extravaganza opening at the O2 arena in London on January 17.
Nokulunga, whose name is shortened to Lunga for the stage, achieves seemingly impossible positions with ease, then ratchets up the act with excruciating twists and turns.
The performer, who now financially supports her mother, grandmother, aunts and cousins, said: "There are so many kids out there in Africa with talent, but I had something different.
"My mum saw someone doing acrobatics and they mentioned that there were auditions for an American circus. She took me along and they were impressed.
"When I went to America, I did not even speak English and I had no chaperone, just a tutor for my education. It was tough at first but my family supported me because they knew I was following my dreams."