South African Playwright Mbongeni Ngema Dies At 68


Mbongeni Ngema, author of the musical “Sarafina” about student revolts in apartheid-era Soweto, died Wednesday in a road accident at the age of 68, his family announced.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the brutal death of our beloved brother, father, husband, and compatriot, Mbongeni Ngema,” the family announced in a statement.

The family added that Ngema died in a head-on collision while returning from a funeral in the Eastern Cape province.

“Sarafina” had made Ngema a pan-African music star, and the stage version ran for two years on Broadway.

Whoopi Goldberg starred in the film adaptation of Sarafina, which impressed audiences at the Cannes Film Festival in 1992, the year of its release, and was screened again in the last edition.

Ngema was also an actor, singer, choreographer and composer.