Nonzwakazi Cekete
Journalist
3 minute read
16 Mar 2021
4:16 pm

Even in pain, Menzi Ngubane was bubbly

Nonzwakazi Cekete

Peers and colleagues in the entertainment fraternity remember how legendary actor was when cameras were off.

Celebrity photographer Oupa Bopape says it was a joy interacting with Menzi Ngubane on the red carpet. Picture: Supplied

A giant has truly fallen in actor Menzi Ngubane as tributes are not only pouring in from the celebrity fraternity but from people of all walks of life. They are remembering the time they spent with the star, who succumbed to a stroke on Saturday. Those who worked with him at different points of his career speak fondly of the star and say he had ubuntu (he was humane), that you would sometimes even forget he was a legend. They look back to the time they interacted with Menzi.

  • In a heart-felt tribute Noami Mokhele, who worked with Menzi on SABC 1 as the channel’s publicist and later as his personal manager and publicist says:

“Bhuti Menzi, a true professional. You were indeed a legend and an icon of our film and television industry. Your sad passing has left a big void in my heart, but most importantly, in the entire acting fraternity. I shall remember and miss all the public and private moments we shared over the years of working together. I shall cherish the positive energy and aura you always exuded so effortlessly.

“I will forever remember the long drives when we had to travel on work duties. You were passionate about anything you put your mind to…You gave it all you had and you still wanted to do more. You were a true talent, you lived your life to the full and never complained about being tired or in pain. What a compassionate man you were! Thank you for the beautiful memories. You fought a good battle. You inspired a generation of actors who continue to look up to you!”

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  • Renowned celebrity photographer Oupa Bopape, who often rubbed shoulders with Menzi on red carpets, shares a touching tribute:

“I started following Menzi on uBambo Lwam where he played Mazwi. When I came to Johannesburg to pursue my career in photography, I would meet him at movie premieres and launches. I remember at one stage, I did a shoot for a local magazine – Menzi was bubbly and down to earth. He was one of a kind because generations could relate to him because his acting adjusted with the times and appealed across the ages.

“Even when he was sick, he never forgot to smile. But what saddens me is that when he had a problem with his kidneys, people would write hurtful things about him on social media but Menzi took it in his stride and carried on with life. It’s so sad that the people who were first to post about his death, were people who never appreciated him when he was still alive.”

  • Nyagunda Ngwenya worked closely with Menzi while he was at Generations. She was the publicist for the soapie at the time. In a moving tribute, she says:

“Words cannot explain the vacuum you’ve left – I have no words my heart is not okay; I’m trying so hard to control it but I can’t. I just have to accept you are no more. When you suffered from kidney failure, I saw how you fought to survive and you did.

“I was convinced that you would pull through like a fighter, you are. I always visualised you going back to what you love most and passionate about acting. I’m so crushed about your passing. You were like a brother to me. There are so many great moments we shared together, every time I think of them, I have a smile on my face.”

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