Playwright Mbongeni Ngema has described the late playwright and choreographer, Welcome Msomi as a close friend who contributed immensely to the creative industry.

Msomi died in Johannesburg at the age of 76.

He was the founder of the iZulu Dance Theatre and Music in 1965 in Durban and went on to tour the world with his productions. Msomi’s glittering early theatre career was tainted following his 2019 conviction on 61 counts of theft for millions of rands from the Department of Arts and Culture’s, Living Legends Legacy Programme.

Ngema says Msomi created a platform for many to tap into the arts industry.

“I will remember welcome Msomi for the things he did whilst still alive, for the things he did for South Africa. He took to the world stages a production called Mabatha which means Macbeth that was very very profound. We will always remember him for the livelihoods of the people he saved when there were no jobs in South Africa, he offered more than 50 jobs on that production on stage. May his soul rest in peace.,” says Ngema.

In the audio below, Ngema describes Msomi’s contribution.

Msomi was hospitalised in late 2019 when he was due to be sentenced regarding the millions of rands stolen from the Living Legends Legacy Programme. He was convicted on 61 counts of theft after he stole R8 million from the Legacy Programme.

He was due for sentencing in February, but the case was postponed due to his health issues. The magistrate presiding over his case, Janse van Vuuren, threatened to issue a warrant for his arrest if his legal team failed to submit a medical report by 27 February, which had been pending since November 2019.

The case was postponed to 2 June and was further postponed again on the day.