Days before the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, veteran playwright Mbongeni Ngema, a former offender, has taken a stand against gender-based violence (GBV).
During his recent eNCA interview with Faith Mangoepe, Ngema admitted to being abusive in his previous marriages.
On when he realised that he had a problem, the TV and theatre producer said: “When you get older you reflect back on what you have done at your young age and that was the moment of truth in my life to say that I've changed my ways.
“I have to acknowledge what I've done, I have to look back at myself and say do I like the picture that I see of my young age. That was the moment of realisation.”
The “Sarafina!” star added: "I have been with so many women in my life. I'm sorry for what I have done, that is why I'm putting myself in the forefront of this movement, to say that it's not too late for all men to join me and let us lead by example and say sorry to women. Let us do the right thing.”
Ngema added that it was difficult to admit that he was an abuser but following a “long process of introspection” he discovered that it was “possible”.
Watch the full interview below:
Meanwhile, his former wife, Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, has penned a memoir, "Heart of A Strong Woman – From Daveyton to Sarafina! My story of triumph”, where she tells-all on her life with Ngema.
In the book, Nduneni-Ngema alleges that her ex-husband raped her at a Durban hotel eight months after they separated over his extramarital affair with actress Leleti Khumalo.
Before the rape, Nduneni-Ngema claims Ngema had threatened to break her jaw with a spanner. He also allegedly beat her so hard that she collapsed when she tried to leave the room the following day.
She also alleges that Ngema tried to throw her out of the window that had a steel-blade propeller at a multi-storey hotel in Nigeria during a "Sarafina" tour.
In her recent interview with Sunday Independent, Nduneni-Ngema says one of the lessons she has learned from her life experience is that women should never stay in abusive relationships.
“If your marriage becomes abusive – mentally, physically or emotionally, it is time to leave. If you stay, you are giving your partner license to hurt you more.
“I also need to forgive the younger me for allowing the abuse to happen. I need to reconcile the younger version of me with who I am now,” said Nduneni-Ngema.
In the book, Nduneni-Ngema also recalled how she assaulted Leleti Khumalo after finding out about her affair with her former husband.
“I fell on Leleti. I beat her. I beat her. I was careful not to hit her on her face. I was also careful not to hit her on her legs. She had to go on stage and perform the following day. So with my stick, I concentrated on her body,” she wrote.
When asked about her relationship Khumalo, Nduneni-Ngema said still hopes to reconcile with her.
“I am hoping that one day we will be able to reconcile, together with the other cast members.
“We need to have a facilitated truth and reconciliation of our own, where we are able to talk and hash things out. We need to start talking about issues so we can all heal. The entire cast needs healing,” she told Sunday Independent.