Following the shocking news of playwright and lyricist Mbongeni Ngema’s death on December 27, dates for his funeral and memorial service have been announced.
Ngema's publicist, Sbu Ketwa, told Independent Media Entertainment that the memorial service will be held on Wednesday at The Playhouse in Durban at noon, while the funeral service will be on Friday at the Durban International Convention Centre (Durban ICC).
Ngema, 68, was killed in a head-on car accident while returning from a funeral in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape.
Shortly after his death, the actor’s family issued an official statement to confirm the sad news.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved brother, father, husband, and patriot, Mbongeni Ngema,” the statement read.
Born in Verulam, Ngema’s – or Madlokovu as he was affectionately referred to by his clan name – work was internationally acclaimed, receiving Tony Award nominations for “Asinamali” and “Sarafina!”. He also received Grammy Award nominations for his work in “Sarafina!” and “The Lion King”.
In honour of Ngema’s legacy, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government announced he will be granted a special provincial official funeral category 2.
In a statement, KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube expressed her gratitude to President Cyril Ramaphosa for granting Ngema a special provincial official funeral.
The special provincial official funeral category 2, which includes elements of police ceremonial honours, is “reserved for distinguished people specifically designated by the president of South Africa on request from the premier of a province”.
Dube-Ncube said Ngema distinguished himself as a true South African legend who used creative art and theatre to contribute to the fight for freedom the country is enjoying today.
Ketwa said more information on the funeral proceedings will be communicated in due course.