Minister Nathi Mthethwa pays tribute to the late Shadrack Ngema

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06 Dec 2015

I have learnt with shock of the sudden passing of Shadrack Ngema.

We join his family, his many friends and fans, and former colleagues at Ukhozi FM, in mourning his passing.

We shall forever remember this outstanding actor and veteran broadcaster for his role as Magubane in the popular sitcom, Emzini Wezinsizwa and as a presenter and commentator on Ukhozi FM.

Emzini Wezinsizwa’s storyline of life in the hostels spoke truths to our society and demonstrated how the residents of Room 8, despite coming from diverse backgrounds and speaking different languages, could interact and live together in harmony.

Alongside other characters, including Mkhize, Mofokeng, Tshawe, Chirwali and Magubane, played by Ngema himself, viewers experienced an account of the realities of life that was humorous and revealing. Magubane was a Post Office messenger by day and an inyanga (resident traditional healer) when off duty. Ngema played the role of Magubane so convincingly that he himself quipped in an interview that: ”I guess the part was tailor-made for me because people truly believe I’m an inyanga. They consult me for all sorts of ailments.”

Besides his prowess at acting and making the entire nation laugh, he hailed from  Maphumelelo, KwaZulu-Natal and had started an acting career on an episode in the series of Shaka Zulu where he played one of the king’s generals.

He worked for the SABC for more than thirty years, initially as an administrator, then as a broadcaster, as a sports announcer and presenter on Ukhozi FM and in radio drama for which he won many awards over the years. He also appeared in many stage plays. Although he in later years, he retired, he remained linked to broadcasting.

He was a seasoned performer, whose acting showed great commitment to his work and insight into the characters he portrayed. He was a true all-rounder as an artist who embraced a range of art disciplines and excelled at all.

His passing comes only a few months after we have paid our last respects to Roland Mqwebu, another legendary actor, with whom Ngema acted in Emzini Wezinsizwa.

We shall remember Ngema’s contribution to the arts as that of a leading light who broke new ground, paved the road ahead and provided us with greater insights into ourselves.

Our deepest condolences go to his family, friends and many fans.

Lala ngokuthula Shadrack Ngema

For more information, contact Lisa Combrinck at 082 821 4886 /

Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture