Today we lay to rest one of our most iconic and acclaimed artists, Dr. Mbongeni Ngema, who left us on 27 December 2023 in a tragic motor vehicle accident in the Eastern Cape.
Ngema’s name is known worldwide for his stage work, film and musical talent. He rose to fame as a youngster working with the late playwright and director, Gibson Kente, as well as the likes of Ndaba Mhlongo, Mary Twala, Darlington Michaels and many other great thespians.
He later wrote the world renowned Woza Albert stage play, which was followed by Sarafina, which was later adapted into a movie that featured the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo.
He unearthed many a talent, working with young and old artists to produce some of the most phenomenal work in theatre, music and film.
During his travels abroad, Ngema went on to work with and form close bonds with the likes of Quincy Jones, Leon Huff and Kenneth Gamble to produce music for some of the most famous artist in the world.
Apart from composing, producing and singing, one of the best songs to ever come of South Africa, Stimela SaseZola in 1985, Ngema co-wrote music for The Lion King, working with Elton John and Lebo M, whom he discovered while in America.
He also loved sports, most especially Kaizer Chiefs. Dr. Ngema’s love for the Glamour Boys started in 1969 during the Kaizer XI days when the late China Ngema, from Nongoma, and Ewert Nene played a big part in the formation of Kaizer Chiefs. Ngema said in one interview that they, “used to refer to Kaizer Chiefs as their ‘home Club’ because of the family ties they had with our forefathers, China Ngema and Ewert Nene.”
We thank him for sharing his massive talent with the world and for playing a key role in the struggle for liberation through the arts.
Our condolences to the Ngema family at large for this huge loss.
Rest in Peace Madlokovu, Mngadi, Ntusi yenkomo!