Sarafina! creator and acclaimed playwright Mbongeni Ngema, who died in a head-on collision while travelling to Durban last week, will receive a special provincial official funeral category 2.
This category of funeral includes elements of police ceremonial honours and is reserved for distinguished people specifically designated by the president on request by the premier of a province.
Kwazulu-Natal premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube said Ngema distinguished himself as a South African legend who used creative art and theatre to contribute to the fight for freedom the country now enjoys.
“We requested the president to declare Dr Ngema’s send-off a special provincial official funeral primarily to recognise his contribution to our long and painful journey for freedom,” said Dube-Ncube.
Dube-Ncube said the noble gesture would give the family and many South Africans some comfort that he received a send-off befitting his stature.
Ngema died in hospital last Wednesday after a car crash involving a truck on the R61 in the Mbizana area in the Eastern Cape.
Dube-Ncube added: “This is indeed a befitting honour to Madlokovu, who worked tirelessly for many decades to put South Africa on the global pedestal through art. Armed only with his creativity and theatre, he confronted the brutal apartheid regime, in the process conscientising the world about the ruthless and dehumanising nature of apartheid.
“Madlokovu used his vast networks abroad to focus the attention of the world to the suffering of our people in this country under apartheid. He pencilled an indelible mark on our journey towards freedom.”
She described Ngema as a passionate ambassador of the theatre and music art form.
“He worked hard to unearth, develop and nurture talent from our townships and rural areas. Many practitioners today owe their success to Madlokovu. As we mourn his passing and send our condolences to his family, we express our gratitude that he lived during our lifetime,” said Dube-Ncube.
The province and family will provide further details about the funeral venue soon.