Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema loved the theatre and dreamed of being an actress. She soon discovered that acting wasn’t for her – managing productions was. She meets rising-star, Mbongeni Ngema and they marry. As his success grows, they start a company that births the hit Sarafina! But beneath the stardom, Xoliswa experiences constant abuse. With Fred Khumalo, she tells her powerful story.
Heart of a Strong Woman by Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema and Fred Khumalo
Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema loved the theatre from a young age and dreamed of being an actress. But she soon discovered that acting wasn’t for her – managing productions was. After watching a Gibson Kente play, she meets rising-star, Mbongeni Ngema, and their relationship begins.
With each of Mbongeni’s productions (Waza Albert! Asinamali!) His fame and success grew and together they started a production company, Committed Artists, that birthed the Broadway hit Sarafina! There were lavish parties with South African legends like Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, first-class flying to New York and shopping in Paris, but beneath the glamour Xolisa started seeing a different side to her husband. What soon followed is constant fighting, cheating, abuse, polygamy and eventually – a truamtic divorce.
This is not only Xolisa’ story. Heart of a Strong Woman also sheds light on an important part of South African theatre history. Together with Fred Khumalo, Xolisa Nduneni-Ngema tells her powerful story of triumph and perserverance.