Internationally acclaimed playwright Mbongeni Ngema is accused rape and assault in a his ex wife’s memoir.
Internationally acclaimed playwright Mbongeni Ngema is accused rape and assault in a his ex wife’s memoir.

Playwright Mbongeni Ngema’s ex-wife claims in new book that he brutally assaulted and raped her

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Aug 12, 2020

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Johannesburg - A soon-to-be launched book was expected to lay bare details of how internationally acclaimed playwright Mbongeni Ngema allegedly raped and assaulted his ex wife after she discovered he was cheating on her with actress Leleti Khumalo.

According to Sunday World, Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, the chief executive of Joburg City Theatres, makes the allegations in her memoir, Heart of a Strong Woman – From Daveyton to Sarafina: My Story of Triumph. It is written by Fred Khumalo.

In the book, Nduneni-Ngema claims her former husband raped her at a Durban hotel eight months after they separated over his extra-marital affair with Leleti Khumalo.

Prior to the rape, she claims, Ngema had threatened to break her jaw with a wheel spanner and also beat her up so hard that when she tried to leave the room the following day, she collapsed near the lift.

The other allegation is that Ngema tried to throw her out of the window that had a steel-blade propeller at a multi-storey hotel in Nigeria where Sarafina was on tour at the time.

According to the book the rape occurred on the day that Ngema picked her up from work, apologised for the extra marital affair and begged them to rekindle their love.

However, she would have none of it and told him that she was done with him. They had a heated argument after which Ngema is said to have asked that they have dinner.

After the dinner, she asked to be taken home, but Ngema is alleged to have been violent on the road, stopping the car on the highway, accusing her of cheating and threatening to hit her with a wheel spanner.

After calming down and putting the wheel spanner back in the boot, Ngema allegedly drove to his hotel where he demanded sex from his then ex-wife whom he was separated from.

She claims that when she refused, Ngema grabbed her and tried to strip her clothes off.

He allegedly punched her grabbed her by the neck, called her parents and told them their child was a bitch and that he was assaulting her before putting down the phone and continued to punch her several times.

“Then he striped me naked. I had no fight left in me. He had sex with me. I can say it was rape. But at that time, I refused to use the word ‘rape’.

“A part of me said I was still married to him, and a married woman cannot be raped by her husband. That was how I thought and reasoned at the time.

“But it was indeed rape. I had not consented. I did not participate in the act. I simply forced my mind to drift away while he huffed and puffed. I had never thought I would be raped by my own husband.”

She goes on to say that in the morning she collapsed as she left the room and woke up with a group of people towering above her. She said somebody called the doctor who confronted Ngema in his room.

“You beat your wife on a spinal cord! What was your intention? Did you want to paralyse her or kill her? The doctor wanted to know if I wanted to press assault charges against him. I said no.”

Sunday World spoke to Ngema who denied raping and assaulting his former wife.

“I would never have hit her, in all my married life. I don’t remember hitting her, I was angry and disappointed at how things had turned out.

“And yes, she had cheated on me while I was away and things between us had deteriorated. She admitted to this.

“I was hurt and angry that she cheated on me,” he was quoted as saying.


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