Mbongeni Ngema’s work moved audiences around the world

Mbongeni Ngema’s work moved audiences around the world

South Africa – President Cyril Ramaphosa has joined South Africans from across the country in offering their condolences to the family, friends and associates of cultural stalwart, Dr Mbongeni Ngema .

Ngema lost his life in a vehicle accident on Wednesday .

“His masterfully creative narration of our liberation struggle honoured the humanity of oppressed South Africans and exposed the inhumanity of an oppressive regime .

“The many productions he created or to which he contributed inspired resilience and pride among us as fellow South Africans and took South Africa and our continent into the theatres, homes and consciousness of millions of people around the world .

May his soul rest in peace,” said President Ramaphosa .

Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa, who has also expressed his condolences, said the Ngema family had confirmed that he passed away in a car accident on Wednesday .

Born in the town of Verulam in KwaZulu-Natal, Ngema’s work touched and moved audiences around the world and made an important contribution in telling the South African story, said the Minister .

His work was internationally acclaimed, receiving Tony Award nominations for Asinamali and Sarafina .

Ngema also received Grammy Award nominations through his work in Sarafina and The Lion King .

A testament to his artistic talent, Ngema also acted in film, appearing in the film adaptation of Sarafina and the Oscar-nominated film Yesterday .

Locally, Ngema received several accolades such as Lifetime Achievement Awards at the South African Music Awards (SAMAS) and the Naledi Theatre Awards .

Ngema also contributed greatly to the development of creative arts in communities through his collaboration with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and its agencies such as the Playhouse Company .

“With the passing of Dr Mbongeni Ngema, South Africa has lost one of its great playwrights, composers, lyricists, directors and musicians .

Dr Ngema’s work was celebrated in South Africa and internationally,” said the Minister .

He said at a critical time in the liberation struggle against apartheid, Ngema took the plays Woza Albert, Asinamali and Sarafina to international stages .

The productions not only showcased South African talent, but also narrated to the world the experiences of South Africans who were ostracised and brutalised under apartheid .

“In the democratic years, Dr Ngema’s works would reflect the mood, hopes, joy and challenges of life in democratic South Africa .

“Whether it was through the defiant songs in Sarafina, the determination expressed in songs such as Lizobuya, or the exuberance of songs such as Stimela sase Zola, Dr Ngema’s work did much to foster social cohesion and to express critical moments of South African history through the arts,” said Kodwa .

He described the passing of Ngema as a significant loss to South African arts .

Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Nomusa Dube-Ncube has expressed her deep sadness at the passing of Madlokovu, as Mbongeni was affectionately referred to and his clan name .

Kwazulu-Natal acting MEC for Sport, Arts, and Culture, Sipho Hlomuka, has acknowledged the immense impact of the untimely passing of Ngema .

He said the South African and global entertainment scene, theatre, arts and culture have been dealt a heavy blow .

In his tribute, Hlomuka celebrated Ngema as an iconic figure—a larger-than-life personality known for his flamboyance, vibrancy, occasional controversy, and fearless expression of views .

The MEC condemned the prevalence of road accidents “robbing society of such influential figures who contribute significantly to social cohesion and the arts” and urged motorists to continue to be cautious on the roads .

– SAnews .

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