Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, says he is deeply saddened by the passing of actors Noxolo Maqashalala and Menzi Ngubane.

He says the sector has been robbed at a time when there are so much tension and stress in the industry due to the economic collapse and already existing challenges within the industry.  

Ngubane died from a stroke on Saturday morning at his Ladysmith home in KwaZulu-Natal.  Whilst Maqashalala was found dead in her home in Johannesburg on Friday.  

Ministry Spokesperson Masechaba Khumalo says, Menzi Ngubane was an icon, an acting aficionado who used his voice and his influence to demystify issues on kidney disease and sugar diabetes, while promoting positive lifestyle changes. The sector was dealt a double blow with news of the death of Noxolo Maqashalala, one of South Africa’s greatest actresses of our time. 

Mthethwa says, “Many will remember Maqashalala for her lead role as Viwe in the 2003 SABC1 youth drama series Tsha Tsha. She also appeared on Generations, Rhythm City and Intersexions. She was a sterling performer who gave her best at every role that she took on. The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture extends its condolences to the family, friends and fans of these two iconic artists. May their souls rest in peace. 

Actor Menzi Ngubane’s family says he spoke openly about his health problems and worked hard to spread the word about kidney disease.   

He starred in numerous SABC TV productions including popular soapie Generations as Sbusiso Dhlomo.   

His family says he spent the last 10 years trying to demystify issues relating to kidney disease and diabetes at the same time promoting positive lifestyle changes needed to cope with the disease.   

Ngubane’s manager Naomie Mokhele says she will remember him for the compassion he had for people. People don’t understand when a person is an actor, when a person appears on TV, they forget the human side of a person. And when you know a person face to face that’s when you know his personality, you know, his work ethic, his love for his craft, his love for the people. And that’s the kind of person Menzi was.

Ngubane is survived by his wife Sikelelwa and two daughters.

Over the past 10 years, the Ladysmithborn actor spent much of his time trying to demystify issues relating to kidney disease and sugar diabetes while promoting positive lifestyle changes needed to cope with the diseases.

Between 2010 and 2015, Ngubane’s numerous struggles with kidney failure resulted in him being placed on a kidney recipients list and ultimately received a donor ensuring he continued and sustained his acting career until recently.

His acting spans more than three decades and his big break in the industry came with a breakthrough role as Gijimpi on Kwakhala Nyonini. He worked with John Ledwaba who was a director of a staged musical called Street Sisters in 1990.  

He further played Enoch Santonga in a national anthem musical and was on a theatre play called Ceaser, where he starred as Brutus.

He has also played on popular SABC dramas such as Yizo Yizo, Gaz’ Lam and Soul City, and acted on SABC 1 soapie, Generations as Sibusiso Dhlomo. He treasured the time he played in a movie called In My Country, alongside international actor Samuel L. Jackson.

His last prominent role was as Judas Ngwenya in Isibaya in 2020.

At the time of his passing Ngubane was working with Zindela Pictures, producers of an upcoming South Africa / Thai movie Red Cargo, starring alongside international stars Simon Kook and Peter Pham from Vietnam.

“As a family, we wish to thank everyone for their continued and sustained support and the prayers for our beloved son whose battle with kidney failure and sugar diabetes had become an open secret over the years. We wish to mourn the passing of our beloved son in private and will communicate the funeral and other arrangements in due course,” said the family spokesperson.

Tributes: Putco Mafani shares friendship memories with Ngubane