Atandwa Kani was born on 6 June, 1984 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is a South African actor of television and stage, son of the celebrated South African actor John Kani.
Kani was exposed to the entertainment industry at a young age by observing and learning from his father, who studied scripts for his own acting roles and took his son to theatre performances. These experiences influenced him to follow in his father’s footsteps. He was educated at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), where he studied theatre performance and participated in school productions. He graduated in 2008, with an Honours degree in theatrical performance.
Atandwa made his international stage debut in The Tempest, a collaboration between the Baxter Theatre Centre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he played Ariel alongside his father (Caliban) and Sir Antony Sher (Prospero). One reviewer described him as “the star of this production…he was a true pleasure to watch, embodying the character and interacting beautifully with the rest of the cast”. Sean Hewitt of the Nottingham news site, Nottingham Post, wrote “….scene-stealing Atandwa Kani, the best Ariel I’ve ever seen”.
In 2009, Kani made his United States television debut in the CW Television Network program Life Is Wild, an American adaptation of the hugely popular ITV family drama Wild at Heart that aired in the United Kingdom from 2006 until 2012. The American adaptation was commissioned for only one season, but from 2010 to 2012, Atandwa played the role of Thabo in series 5 and 6, plus a brief appearance in series 7, of the original British Wild at Heart, starring Stephen Tompkinson and Dawn Steele.
In 2009, Kani performed in two new plays, Hayani and ID Pending, which explore ideas of home and identity for young South Africans in different ways. Together with fellow actor and Wits graduate Nat Ramabulana, and directed by Warren Nebe, they premiered the productions at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.
Atandwa has been featured in the TrueLove magazine in the first of its In Bed With… features. In 2010, he was a regular in the SABC TV series Soul Buddyz. In 2011, he became a regular on the SABC 2 political series, 90 Plein Street in its third season, directed by Khalo Matabane. He also served as Master of Ceremonies for the 46664 “Legacy” Bangle, alongside Tokyo Sexwale and Hlubi Mboya.
He then went on to play the young Nelson Mandela in the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, directed by Justin Chadwick, acting alongside Idris Elba, Naomi Harris and Terry Pheto.
Till date Atandwa still excite his fan when it comes to entertainment career.