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Sarafina Creator Mbongeni Ngema Dies

He died in a head-on collision while returning from a funeral in the Eastern Cape.

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Sarafina Creator Mbongeni Ngema Dies

Mbongeni Ngema, a highly acclaimed South African playwright, composer, choreographer, and stage director, has died at the age of 68.

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He died in a head-on collision while returning from a funeral in the Eastern Cape. His family said he was a passenger in the vehicle, The Times reported.

Said the family in a statement:

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved brother, father, husband and patriot, Mbongeni Ngema.

Ngema was widely recognised for his immense contributions to the world of musical theatre, particularly for his groundbreaking work in Sarafina.

The 1992 hit movie Sarafina! was a musical drama based on Ngema’s 1987 musical of the same name.

Sarafina Creator Mbongeni Ngema Dies

The film was co-written by Ngema and starred Hollywood actress Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo.

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It garnered international acclaim for its powerful portrayal of the struggles endured by black South Africans during the apartheid era.

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Ngema’s ability to capture the essence of the socio-political landscape and address important issues through the medium of musical theatre left an indelible mark on both South Africa and the continent as a whole.

One of Ngema’s most iconic songs, “Stimela Sase Zola,” resonated deeply with audiences.

It vividly depicted the hardships and challenges faced by black mine workers in apartheid South Africa.

The song told the story of a young man who left his rural home to toil in a gold mine.

Mbongeni Ngema’s influence extended far beyond his artistic accomplishments.

His impact was so profound that numerous PhD theses, books, and documentaries have been dedicated to exploring and celebrating his life and legacy.

He will forever be remembered as a remarkable man and a true legend in the world of theatre.


Person for people. Reader of writings. Writer of readings.

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