Ngwenya 'an inspiration'

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

That South Africa has lost a humble but industrious cultural activist emerged during the memorial service for versatile artist Peter Ngwenya in Johannesburg this week.

Ngwenya, who died last Tuesday from an unknown illness, will be buried in Soweto on Saturday.

Southern African Theatre Initiative official Mpho Molepo described Ngwenya as having been more than a playwright, director and tutor. Molepo said before his death Ngwenya was charting another path.

"He was seeking to acquire an assessor's certificate and to turn the Soweto Youth Drama Society into a learning and teaching services," Molepo said.

Veteran community theatre practitioner Bongani Linda said he had worked with Ngwenya since the 1980s. "Ngwenya was humble, unselfish and visionary."

Zolile Vilakazi of the Amabutho Dance Group said: "Ngwenya inspired me and helped me form a music, dance and drama group."

Gauteng sports, arts and culture department official Jerry Mabuza encouraged artists to emulate Ngwenya to become go-getters and to be innovative to attract support.

Protege Nomsa Buthelezi, who is known as the singing bride in a cellphone commercial, said: "I am a proud product of the mentoring and coaching of Bra Peter Ngwenya."