Tributes pour in for veteran actress Nomhle Nkonyeni

Nomhle Nkonyeni
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Condolences are pouring in for veteran TV actress, Nomhle Nkonyeni who passed away in the early hours of Wednesday.

The Port Elizabeth-born actress died in hospital after a short illness.

The SABC has sent its condolences to the family of veteran actress.

Nkonyeni had appeared in numerous SABC productions including, Generations, Gaz’lam, Tsha-Tsha and Zero Tolerance.

She was recently awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria.

SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu says, Nkonyeni has been instrumental in playing a leading role in shaping the arts and culture industry in South Africa. Me’Nkonyana has appeared in a number of classic SABC programs where her acting made her a household name. The SABC sends its condolences to mam’Nkonyeni’s family, friends and colleagues in the industry.”

Theatre practitioner and friend, Zwai Mgijima says Nkonyeni would be remembered for her honesty.

“I started knowing her in the industry like her taking care of us in Johannesburg in the early 90s. When we would come here in Johannesburg, she would call us in one place, all the guys from the Eastern Cape and say, ‘I know Onyoko. Your parents are not here in Johannesburg. Come let me cook for you.’ Whilst cooking, she would be giving us advice on the industry, telling us all the things an artist should know.”

Dream of establishing an art academy

The 77 year old doyen of theatre and screen play died before fulfilling her dream of establishing an Art Academy in the Nelson Mandela Bay.

Phumelele Zonela from the Nomhle Nkonyeni Foundation says he visited Nkonyeni in hospital on Sunday and she told him of her plans for the future.

“Sis Hlehle had this big vision of starting an Art Academy here in the Nelson Mandela Bay. Not only to be based here in the Nelson Mandela Bay, she had a provincial outlook and also a national outlook. She believed we had to start somewhere. Based on our year plan, we started to celebrate, one of our stalwarts in Port Elizabeth, Norman Ntshinga theatre series. She believes that she was influenced by Norman Ntshinga in her arts.”

Minister Nathi Mthethwa, paying tribute to Mama Nkonyeni, writes:

“Had I the musical genius of the late composer Michael Moerane, and had to write a song befitting this devastating occurrence, I might have written the  song Mr Moerane wrote- “Sylvia”, except mine would have been entitled “Nomhle”.

The song- a beautiful tribute about the death of a matriarch goes (Allow me for but this mournful period, to replace the name in the original title of the song):

“Nomhle, mntakwethu, ntomb’asekhaya (Nomhle, my elder sister)

Kazi ndothini ukuthetha nawe (What words do I use to speak to you?)

Xana ku namhlanje sosala sodwa (Now that today you have left us all alone)

Ewe, ke namhlanje sizinkedama. (Yes, today, we are orphans.)

Kazi kunamhlanje soba yini na (As of this day what will become of us?)

Kambe sitsho sithi ndlela ntle.” (Nevertheless, we say ‘farewell’).”