KZN mourns the loss of SA’s finest producer, composer Mbongeni Ngema

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KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube has expressed her condolences on the death of renowned playwright and composer Mbongeni Ngema.

Dube-Ncube describes him as South Africa’s finest producer, composer and lyricist of our time.

The 68-year-old acclaimed playwright died on Wednesday night after a head-on collision with a truck near Bizana in the Eastern Cape, while returning from a funeral.

Dube-Ncube says Ngema played a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s cultural narrative. She says the artist was a trailblazer with his 1988 play Sarafina!

In the 90’s it was adapted for the silver screen, featuring Whoopi Goldberg.

The Premier claims in a statement that Ngema left an indelible mark on South Africa’s journey to freedom.

“We are with the family during this difficult time and we wish really that they find the strength that Mr Mbongeni Ngema ‘Madlokovu’ as he was affectionately known, has left an indelible mark in the lives of all of us.”

Ngema left an irreplaceable void in South Africa’s artistic landscape.

Earlier, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa expressed sadness at the passing of Mbongeni Ngema. The Minister says “The passing of Ngema is a significant loss to South African arts.”

Ngema’s contribution to South Africa’s journey to freedom remains a lasting legacy in the hearts of many. He has been applauded and acknowledged for the role he played in developing the music industry and promoting unity through arts.

The body of the legendary artist left the Eastern Cape Province on Thursday afternoon to his home province of KwaZulu-Natal, following the identification process by his family at OR Tambo Memorial Hospital in Mbizana.

Messages of condolence

Meanwhile, messages of condolence have been pouring in. President Cyril Ramaphosa released a statement on Thursday, describing Ngema’s work as one that contributed and inspired resilience and pride among South Africans.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri says that Ngema was a great influence in the arts space.

“The ANC expresses profound sorrow and extends heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late to the family of Mbongeni Ngema. A luminary in the arts, Ngema’s passing leaves an indelible void in the cultural tapestry of our nation.”

The Ngema family is expected to announce details of his funeral soon.