At the funeral of the late Mbongeni Ngema, veteran actor Dumisani Dlamini expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the role Ngema played in his life.
Not only did Ngema mentor and guide Dlamini in his artistic pursuits, but he also helped him raise funds for a special traditional homecoming ceremony for his daughter, the internationally renowned artist, Doja Cat.
Dlamini fondly recalled how Ngema took him under his wing, introducing him to the world of theatre and music. From their humble beginnings in Umlazi, Ngema showed Dlamini the bright lights of Johannesburg and even took him on a journey to New York. Through Ngema’s guidance, Dlamini honed his skills in dancing, acting, and singing, ultimately becoming a well-respected figure in the entertainment industry.
But Ngema’s impact on Dlamini’s life extended far beyond his professional career. Dlamini credits Ngema with giving him a vision for his life, leading him to build a successful marriage, own a house, and establish his own businesses. Without Ngema’s influence, Dlamini believes he would not have achieved the level of success and stability he enjoys today.
It was during one of Ngema’s productions, the iconic play Sarafina!, that Dlamini’s path crossed with Deborah Sawyer, who would later become the mother of his daughter, Doja Cat.
The serendipitous meeting took place while the cast was on tour in the United States. Little did Dlamini know that this encounter would lead to the birth of a talented artist who would go on to win a Grammy award.
Doja Cat, born Amala Zandile Dlamini, has become a global sensation, captivating audiences with her unique blend of rap and singing.
Her success has brought immense pride to her father, who attributes her rise to stardom to Ngema’s influence. Dlamini firmly believes that without Ngema’s guidance and support, Doja Cat’s incredible journey would never have been possible.
Ngema, known for his strong traditional beliefs, had been instrumental in Dlamini’s plan to bring Doja Cat back to South Africa to perform traditional rituals. The intention was to honor her roots and connect her with her South African heritage. Unfortunately, Ngema’s untimely passing meant that these plans were put on hold.
However, Dlamini remains determined to fulfill this dream, assuring that the plans to bring Doja Cat to South Africa are still in motion. He emphasized that his relationship with his daughter is “OK” and that they are working towards making the homecoming ceremony a reality.
For Dlamini, it is a matter of time before Doja Cat returns to her homeland to honor her roots and pay homage to the soul of her heritage.
The legacy of Mbongeni Ngema lives on through the lives he touched and the artists he nurtured. Dlamini’s story is a testament to the profound impact Ngema had on those around him. From guiding a young dancer to becoming a father, Ngema’s influence reverberates through generations.
As we celebrate the success of Doja Cat, let us not forget the man who played a pivotal role in shaping her journey.
Mbongeni Ngema’s legacy lives on, not only through his own artistic contributions but also through the artists he inspired and supported along the way.