Sinethemba Makanya is a Mellon Foundation scholar who is currently reading for her PhD in Medical Humanities and Psychology at the Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research (WiSER). The working title for her PhD is 'Ukugula Kwabantu: A study of Traditional Healers’ constructions of Mental Health.' She is a Fulbright Alumnus who completed her MA in drama therapy at New York University. She is currently the first of two black drama therapists in South Africa and is using her research to help her think through how drama therapy can integrate with indigenous knowledge to offer integrated approaches to mental healing.
She has worked as an applied drama facilitator at Themba Interactive, an organisation that utilises applied drama and participatory methods to tackle complex issues related to HIV and AIDS within correctional centres, with orphaned and vulnerable children as well as their caregivers, high school students and their teachers. She has taught Acting, Theatre in Education and Drama in Education at the University of Pretoria as well as Applied Drama and Dramatherapy and acted as research supervisor at Drama for Life at Wits University. Sinethemba has worked with the Institut fur Theatertherapie in Berlin giving workshops and masterclasses there for conferences based on her integration of indigenous healing and drama therapy.