mbongeni ngema

The burial site for the late legendary playwright and musician, Mbongeni Ngema has finally been decided after the family overcame contrasting opinions of where he should be laid to rest.

Family elders were advocating for his burial in Nhlwathi, northern KZN, alongside his ancestors, while others proposed he be laid in Durban among other revered figures.

They were conflicting statements regarding Ngema’s expressed wishes, with some asserting he desired burial in his rural hometown and others claiming he preferred the Heroes Acre in Durban.

Ngema’s younger brother, Nhlanhla Ngema, informed Durban Sun of the family’s internal discord.

“Despite these differences, a decision was eventually reached, to lay him to rest at Heroes Acre, Red Hill cemetery in Durban,” he said.

Nhlanhla shared that amidst the family disagreements, they understood the elders’ inclination towards Nhlwathi, but ultimately, in accordance with Mbongeni’s alleged wishes, the family united in opting for Durban.

According to Nhlanhla, Mbongeni’s wife, Mpumelelo Gumede Ngema, disclosed his preference for burial at Heroes Acre in Durban, further solidifying the family’s decision.

Addressing concerns about potential external pressures, Nhlanhla clarified that the government did not impose their choice.

He emphasized that the funeral, declared a special provincial official funeral by President Cyril Ramaphosa, was a family-led decision.

The choice to bury him in Durban aligns with logistical considerations, as the funeral is scheduled to take place at the ICC in Durban on Friday, January 5.

Nhlanhla revealed the initial plan to hold a memorial service in Mbongeni Ngema’s rural hometown was postponed with no specified date. He underscored that, as a family, they recognize Mpumelelo Gumede-Ngema as Mbongeni’s wife. Mbongeni Ngema, aged 68, tragically lost his life in a car crash while en route from the Eastern Cape to KZN on December 27, 2024.

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