Home Arts & Entertainment Veteran SA playwright, Mbongeni Ngema dies

Veteran SA playwright, Mbongeni Ngema dies

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Veteran SA playwright, Mbongeni Ngema dies

Story by Farai Gwaze

VETERAN South African playwright and showbiz icon Mbongeni Ngema has died in a car crash.

He was 68.

A statement shared by his family confirmed Ngema died on Wednesday evening in a road traffic accident while returning from attending a funeral in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape.

Ngema is renowned for his multi-award-winning productions: “Sarafina”, “Woza Albert”, “Asinamali” and “The Zulu”.

“Mbongeni Ngema was a great personal friend, I loved working with him. I acted with him in his play about Bambatha and worked with him on writing the film script for Asinamali and the dramaturge of his play The Zulu. I directed him on his one-man play The Zulu, returning to the stage after 27 years. I also worked with him on the revival of Woza Albert,” said Zimbabwean theatre practitioner, Christopher John.

Ngema before establishing his budding career worked closely with Zimbabwean veteran theatre practitioner, the late Cont Mhlanga.

“I had previously with Cont Mhlanga in Zimbabwe, and I was able to get the two of them to meet and discuss their work. I’d worked with Cont on Workshop Negative in 1986, which was before Ngema established himself with his play Asinamali. They were both giants of the theatre,” added John.

Ngema also became a household name for writing hit songs, including Stimela sa se Zola.