Daphney Hlomuka was born and raised in KwaMashu during the Apartheid era. She began acting in the theater in Durban in 1968, and was considered to be a protégé of the Durban-based playwright, Welcome Msomi. Her earliest theatre credits included performances in two of Msomi’s theatrical productions: Qombeni and Umabatha, which was a Zulu adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Umabatha became one of Msomi’s most famous works. Hlomuka worked in Zulu language radio plays in the interim between Qombeni and Umabatha. She left South Africa briefly during the 1970s to tour with the cast of Iph’ Intombi in Europe. During the 1960s and 1970s, roles on screen or stage for black actors in South Africa were often difficult to find due to Apartheid. Hlomuka often appeared off-screen as a radio actor in several popular Zulu drama series. Hlomuka finally had success on South African television during the 1980s when she was cast in the role of MaMhlongo in the dramatic television series, Hlala Kwabafileyo. Her character, MaMhlongo, was the wife and widow of a wealthy tycoon.
To this day in South Africa, the word MaMgobhozi, which originated from the series and Hlomuka’s character, describes the gossip habits attributed to women. She also appeared in the 1980s television comedy, S’gudi S’naysi, opposite well known actor, Joe Mafela. Mafela portrayed the tenant, S’dumo. Hlomuka’s character, Sis May, was S’dumo’s well intentioned, tolerant landlady. The series was popular during its run. Hlomuka’s film and television credits spanned the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. She appeared in the 1995 film, Soweto Green as a maid and housekeeper named Tryphina, opposite actor John Kani. She also starred as Queen Ntombazi in the 1986 South African television miniseries, Shaka Zulu.