Family Confirms Ngema’s Passing in a Head-On Collision Returning from Lusikisiki
Celebrated musician, composer, choreographer, and playwright Mbongeni Ngema has tragically passed away at the age of 68. The news was confirmed by his family in a statement, revealing that Ngema lost his life in a head-on collision on Wednesday evening while returning from a funeral in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape.
The family’s statement expressed profound sorrow, describing Ngema as a beloved brother, father, husband, and patriot. Born in 1955 in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal, Ngema’s illustrious career began as a theatre backing guitarist. He gained widespread recognition for writing the iconic musicals Sarafina! and Woza Albert!, both of which received numerous awards.
Ngema’s impact extended to the music industry with hit songs like “Stimela sa se Zola.” The 1992 film adaptation of Sarafina! became a global sensation, starring Hollywood actress Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo. The family, devastated by Ngema’s sudden d@ath, will soon share details of his funeral.
In 2018, Ngema expressed joy at the prospect of his work enduring beyond his lifetime. His legacy includes the discovery and mentorship of many South African actors who have since become household names. Ngema emphasized the importance of the younger generation learning from industry veterans, lamenting a perceived lack of eagerness to learn among aspiring artists.
As South Africa mourns the loss of a cultural icon, Ngema’s contributions to the arts and his influence on generations of artists will undoubtedly leave a lasting imprint on the country’s cultural landscape.