During Mbongeni Ngema’s memorial service, Themba Ndaba shared a few shocking revelations including allegations that Shaka Ilembe was stolen from Mbongeni Ngema.
The Playhouse in Durban resonated with memories and tributes as friends, family, and admirers gathered to celebrate the life and times of the late Mbongeni Ngema. The veteran playwright and musician, who tragically lost his life in a car crash just two days after Christmas, was remembered for his significant contributions to the arts.
Sabotage Allegations Surface
Themba Ndaba, a close associate of Ngema, made startling claims during the memorial service. According to Ndaba, they faced setbacks in their projects due to a lack of funding, resulting in the alleged theft of their work, including the well-known production ‘Shaka Ilembe.’ Ndaba asserted that he, Mbongeni, and a friend produced the original ‘Inkosi Ilembe’ in New York in 2015, only for Bomb Pictures to allegedly appropriate the script and change the name to ‘ShakaZulu.’
“We were working on various projects, including a documentary for Oliver Tambo and another for Jacob Zuma,” Ndaba revealed, expressing his frustration over what he believed to be stolen creative endeavours. “Mbongeni Ngema was a spirit—a gift to many South Africans and the youth of that time.”
Unveiling the Political Facet: Umkhonto Wesizwe Connections
Vusi Mvelase, another friend of Ngema, shed light on Ngema’s covert involvement in political agendas. Mvelase revealed Ngema’s collaboration with Mama Winnie Mandela in recruiting and training young individuals for Umkhonto Wesizwe, the armed wing of the ANC. Many aspiring artists were unknowingly enrolled, seemingly for roles in productions like ‘Sarafina,’ only to be redirected to Lusaka for military training.
A Heartfelt Expression of Gratitude
The Ngema family conveyed their gratitude for the overwhelming support received during this challenging time. “Ngema belonged to the people of South Africa and the international community,” the family stated, acknowledging the outpouring of grief from the public and media. The funeral is scheduled at the same venue on January 5, where friends, family, and fans will bid farewell to a remarkable artist and activist.