University cancels event featuring Mbongeni Ngema after he beat up ex-wife over Leleti Khumalo

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The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has cancelled an event in which playwright and seasoned actor Mbongeni Ngema was to be the main speaker.

Ngema, who has gender-based violence allegations hanging over his head following claims made by his ex-wife Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema in her tell-all book, was expected to speak under the theme Arts and Social Justice: The Pursuit of a Nonracial, Non-sexist Democratic South Africa.

According to a flyer on social media, the event was scheduled to take place virtually on August 27.

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Other panelists were Tefo Maloka and Gugu Xaba.

The event was to be hosted by Buwa Student newspaper and TUT. In her book, Heart of a Strong

Woman, which was released two weeks ago, Nduneni-Ngema accused her former husband of raping her and beating her to a pulp just before they separated over 20 years ago.

Women in the arts have since voiced their anger on social media over the event, accusing the university of giving a platform to a “woman abuser”. TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter confirmed that the event has been cancelled.

“We are having a management meeting on Tuesday and we will comment more on that.”

Ngema said: “The university told me they are cancelling the event because of article published last week. I’m not concerned by the cancellation; I am actually used to these things by now where newspapers write things about

The TUT arts department’s Janine Lewis said she had raised the issue with the university internally.

“When we [performing arts department] saw the poster we were concerned about Mbongeni’s reputation because of the topic. We celebrate him as a brilliant and well-known artist and will not take that away. We just felt the topic was not appropriate with the latest reports that are coming out from his ex-wife.”

– Sowetan


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