Legendary playwright and musician Mbongeni Ngema passes away

South African music legend Mbongeni Ngema of Sarafina fame passed away in a head-on collision in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape, on Wednesday evening.

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It’s deeply saddening to hear about the passing of Mbongeni Ngema, a true luminary whose contributions resonated profoundly within South Africa and beyond. As a playwright, musician, and the creative force behind the iconic South African play “Sarafina!”, The 68-year-old Ngema etched his legacy into the cultural fabric of the nation.

His artistry, passion, and dedication to storytelling through theater and music touched the hearts of many, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural landscape.

His sudden departure in a tragic accident is a profound loss for the artistic community and the country as a whole. Ngema’s legacy will continue to live on through the enduring impact of his work, reminding us of his invaluable contributions to South African arts and culture.

Award winning

Mbongeni Ngema’s legacy as an award-winning playwright and musician is woven into the rich tapestry of South African artistry. His acclaimed creations, notably “Sarafina” and “Woza Albert,” stand as enduring testaments to his creative genius, reflecting the resilience and spirit of resistance during the challenging eras of apartheid and the liberation struggle.

Ngema’s repertoire extended beyond theater to music, and his song “Stimela sa se Zola” became a defining anthem. His ability to captivate audiences through his entertaining and thought-provoking artistry solidified his place as an iconic figure in the cultural narrative of South Africa. Additionally, Ngema’s personal life, including his marriage to Leleti Khumalo, was publicized, revealing both the triumphs and challenges that echoed beyond the stage, contributing to the complex legacy of this revered artist.


“SAMRO is saddened by the passing of Mbongeni Ngema, a multi award-winning lyricist and songwriter. We express heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the broader music industry.” – SAMRO said on X

“BabuMbongeni Ngema Siyabonga Baba. Lala ngoxolo. I would like to send my deepest condolences to his loved ones, colleagues, family and friends 🙏🏿 #ripmbongeningema” – DJ Sbu said on X

Image Courtesy: X

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