Culpable homicide probe underway following death of South African playwright, Mbongeni Ngema

Dr Mbongeni Ngema. Picture: Val Adamson

Dr Mbongeni Ngema. Picture: Val Adamson

Published Jan 1, 2024


The transport department has confirmed that a probe was underway following the death of South African playwright, producer and director, Mbongeni Ngema. He was 68 years old at the time of his death.

According to his family, Ngema was killed in a head-on car accident while returning from a funeral in Lusikisiki in Bizana, Eastern Cape, on December 28. He was a passenger in the vehicle.

Eastern Cape transport department spokesperson, Unathi Binqose, confirmed that a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.

He said the circumstances leading up to the crash were still unknown, however, the matter was under investigation by the South African Police Service in Bizana.

Ngema is a renowned playwright, actor, choreographer, composer and singer.

He is best known for his award-winning works that include Sarafina and Woza Albert.

Among his many hit songs is Stimela sa se Zola. An entertaining artist of note, Ngema’s works reflected the spirit of resistance during the Westwood’s of apartheid and liberation struggle.

Tributes flooded in following news of Ngema’s death.

In a statement from Parliament, presiding officers, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Amos Masondo said Ngema’s tragic passing is deeply saddening.

“He is one of the artists that was able to creatively expose the social ills in an artistic way. As a nation, we have lost a legend whose undying spirit and energy for the stage will forever be etched in our minds,” they said in a statement.

“We will forever be indebted to his love, dedication, sacrifice as well as the hope and determination his inspired, not only in the performing arts sector but in all of us.”