Internationally acclaimed playwright Mbongeni Ngema’s exwife, Xoliswa Nduneni-ngema, has accused him of raping her at Elangeni Hotel in Durban eight months after they separated over his extra-marital affair with Sarafina starlet Leleti Khumalo.
In a sensational book to be launched this week, she said before he raped her, he parked his car on a freeway, fetched a wheel spanner from the boot of his hired Beemer and threatened to break her jaws with it so she would not be able to smile for her nyatsis (lovers) again.
She also said before raping her in the hotel room, he beat her up so hard that when she tried to leave the room the following day, she collapsed near the elevator.
In another incident in Nigeria, Ngema is accused of attempting to throw her out of a multi-storey hotel through the window outside of which was a steel-blade propeller that would have cut her into pieces. This was after she, out of fear, had sex with him in what she did not at the time know whether to call it “rape” or not.
The explosive tidbits are contained in her memoir, Heart of a Strong Woman, written by veteran author Fred Khumalo.
Relating the ordeal, she said she left for Kwazulu-natal after she separated from Mbongeni over his adulterous affair with Khumalo.
She said one of Sarafina cast members, Bongani
Hlophe, arrived in the bank where she worked as a teller and told her that Mbongeni had been looking for her. He told her he would go and tell Mbongeni of her whereabout. She said Mbongeni came to her place of work the day after Hlophe had found her.
Xoliswa explained that Mbongeni apologised for what happened between them and begged her to rekindle their love. But she would have none of it and told him that she was done with him.
She said after a heated argument, he asked to have dinner with her and after enjoying the dinner, and alcohol, she asked him to drop her off at her place, which was professor Nongwa’s residential house at Howard College.
As they were driving in his hired BMW, she realised they were on the freeway heading towards Umlazi. When she protested that she wanted to go home, he pulled to the side of the freeway and switched the engine off.
“He was suddenly angry, and I re- alised he was drunk. He had had some alcohol during dinner, but probably he had started drinking before he picked me up to go to the restaurant. Now the alcohol had kicked in. I was scared. I knew he could be extremely violent when drunk. He got off the car and went to the boot for something. When I heard clinking metallic noise, I knew I was in trouble. I immediately locked the doors.”
She further said he came back wielding a wheel spanner and started shouting.
“You bitch! You’ve been with other men. Now I’m going to break those jaws of yours so you can’t smile at them anymore. Open this door,” she writes of the incident.
Xoliswa notes that when she told him she would not open the door until he had put the wheel spanner back in the boot, Mbongeni ran around the car trying to open all the doors, while shouting obscenities. But eventually he got tired and went to put back the wheel spanner in the boot.
She said when she opened for him, he drove to his hotel.
Xoliswa said he demanded sex and when she refused he physically grabbed her and tried to strip her clothes off.
“He started punching me, grabbing me by my neck, he reached for the phone. He dialled and started speaking to my parents. ‘Your child is a bitch’, he punched me,” she said.
She further said he told her parents that he was assaulting her before slamming down the phone and continued to punch her several times until she was too weak to fight back.
“Then he striped me naked. I had no fight left in me. He had sex with me. I can say it was rape. But at that time, I refused to use the word ‘rape’. A part of me said I was still married to him, and a married woman cannot be raped by her husband. That was how I thought and reasoned at the time.
“But it was indeed rape. I had not consented. I did not participate in the act. I simply forced my mind to drift away while he huffed and puffed. I had never thought I would be raped by my own husband.”
In the morning, she collapsed as she left the room and woke up with a group of people towering above her.
She said somebody called the doctor who confronted Ngema in his room.
“You beat your wife on a spinal cord! What was your intention? Did you want to paralyse her or kill her? The doctor wanted to know if I wanted to press assault charges against him. I said no.”
Her next ordeal happened when Sarafina crew was in Nigeria. She said she was in her hotel room when Mbongeni violently banged on her hotel room door, calling her a bitch. She says he thought she was sleeping with another man in her room.
Mbongeni refuted Xoliswa’s claims that he assaulted and raped her. “I would never have hit her, in all my married life. I don’t remember hitting her, I was angry and disappointed at how things had turned out.
“And yes, she had cheated on me while I was away and things between us had deteriorated. She admitted to this.
“I was hurt and angry that she cheated on me,” said the playwright.