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Encyclopedia > Mbongeni Ngema

Mbongeni Ngema (b. 1955 - ) a South African writer, lyricist, composer and director was born in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal (near Durban). He started his career as a theatre backing guitarist. He married Leleti Khumalo a nominee for 1988 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical for Sarafina, and leading role in South Africa's first film nominated for an Oscar, Yesterday written and directed by Darryl Roodt, produced by Anant Singh. Verulam is a town north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and is now part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Area. ... KwaZulu-Natal (often referred to as KZN) is a province of South Africa. ... Central area of Durban Durban is a city in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. ... Leleti Khumalo is a young actress who played the leading role in the movie Sarafina alongside Whoopi Goldberg. ...

In some sectors of South African society, Ngema is considered a racist because of his controversial song, AmaNdiya (about racism that Blacks in KwaZulu-Natal have suffered at the hands of Indians). It was banned in the country soon after it was released in 2002, and even Nelson Mandela had asked Ngema to apologize but Ngema refused. 2002 (MMII) is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, (born July 18, 1918), was the first democratically elected President of South Africa, having previously been a prominent anti-apartheid activist there. ...


  • Asinamali (1987)
  • Sarafina (1988)
  • Magic at 4 AM (1993)
  • Mama (1996)
  • Sarafina 2 (1997)
  • Nikeziwe (2005)

Sarafina! is a South African musical by Mbongeni Ngema depicting apartheid; it was later adapted into a movie starring Leleti Khumalo and Whoopi Goldberg. ...

Honors and Awards

  • 1987 Tony Award - Asinamali! was nominated for Best Direction of a Play
  • 1988 Tony Award - Sarafina was nominated 3 times for Best Choreography, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Original Score

In 2004 he was voted 92nd in the Top 100 Great South Africans (see List of South Africans) // Top 100 Great South Africans In September 2004, thousands of South Africans took part in an informal nationwide poll to determine the 100 Greatest South Africans of all time. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Comment on Mbongeni Ngema's "Amandiya" (837 words)
Mbongeni Ngema’s song ‘AmaNdiya’ has elicited a wide range of reactions that are indicative of a polarized and divided society.
There is still a tendency for the different groups that make up our society to see themselves according to the hierarchical social identities of the past, where one group sees the other as inferior or superior.
The different interpretations of Mbongeni Ngema’s lyrics show that we have not given as much attention to ethnic and other important divisions.
Mail&Guardian: Revisiting Ngema (1349 words)
Ngema laughs loudly when it's suggested many people interviewed are frightened by him; that he's seen to be part of a mafia with henchmen.
Ngema (41) hails from a family of seven and says he enjoys "solid relationships" with both his wives, Cedi Ngema (23) who lives in Zululand, and Leleti Khumalo (28) who lives with him.
Ngema sees himself as a modern-day Gibson Kente and equates his status to that of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
  More results at FactBites »



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