Veteran actress Nomhle Nkonyeni has died at the age of 77.
A close family friend said she died in hospital yesterday morning after having been admitted on Friday.
Nkonyeni’s most recent role was that of Lulama Langa in etv soapie Scandal!
“e.tv is deeply saddened by the news and our condolences go out to Nomhle Nkonyeni’s family and the cast and crew of Scandal!”, e.tv Head of Local Content Ziyanda Mngomezulu said while confirming the news to SowetanLIVE yesterday.
Other than Scandal!, she also starred in filmmaker Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s two newest films Sew the Winter to My Skin and Knuckle City. Her other memorable roles have been in Igazi, Gaz’lam, Zero Tolerance, Tsha Tsha and Home Affairs.
In April this year, Nkonyeni was awarded the order of Ikhamanga in Silver – a prestigious honour by President Cyril Ramaphosa for excellence in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism or sport.
Her debut role in the play Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena which took place at the Cape Performing Arts Board (Capab) theater in Cape Town saw her becoming the first Black woman to ever set foot on that stage during what was then Apartheid-era South Africa. Speaking about that historic moment, Nkonyeni said: “I was the first Black person to perform on that stage and when that door opened, I never shut it.”
In 2016, she received the lifetime achievement award from the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs). Nkonyeni had aspirations of eventually opening up her own performing arts academy in New Brighton, a township in the Eastern Cape province—her hometown.
Tributes and condolences have been pouring in on social media since the news of her passing. – Sowetan/OkayAfrica