Sibongile Khumalo was a legendary South Africa singer, songwriter, and social entrepreneur who started making music in 1992 and remained relevant in the industry until her death. Her amazing vocals earned her the title of South Africa’s First Lady of Songs by the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Over the course of her career, she hit many career milestones that so many South African singers pray for. One of such milestones was performing at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994.
Although she is no more, the news of her death was heartbreaking to many South Africans who loved her. Her impact in the music industry will not be forgotten anytime soon, especially because she raised several singers who have continued in her footsteps – including her own children.
Sibongile Khumalo Is Survived By Two Children Who Have Followed Her Footsteps
As demanding as her musical career was, Sibongile Khumalo started and grew her own family. Not only did she have children, but her children also loved her craft so much that it rubbed off on them. Sibongile Khumalo was the mother of two children – Tshepo Mngoma and Ayanda Khumalo.
Tshepo Mngoma Is Sibongile Khumalo’s Only Son
The exact age of Sibongile Khumalo’s son, Tshepo Mngoma, is not available, and there is also no available information about his childhood, but what we know is that he is following in his mother’s footsteps. Tshepo has an undying passion for music that started as early as the age of seven. He was taught how to play violin, piano, recorder, and marimba by his grandmother, who was Head of Department at Zululand University.
However, instead of just putting all his effort and zeal into growing a music career for himself, he is grooming people and training a generation of outstanding music lovers. Music lovers and enthusiasts at the Letsibogo Girls’ High School currently enjoy the privilege of learning music from the son of the legendary singer Sibongile Khumalo. The beautiful part of it is that his fame is something that can also rub off on them.
This does not mean that he is not building a career for himself; the jazz musician and violinist has collaborated with big names in the industry like Zakes Bantwini and the late Hugh Masekela. He has also featured as the music director in many plays like Guga Mzimba and Ain’t’ Misbehavin.
At his mother’s funeral service, Tshepo Mngoma referred to his mother as ‘a gift’ and thanked her for being such great support to his career by helping him get his first gig and others that followed while she was alive. It’s been over six months since the death of his mother, and her memory is still evergreen in his heart.
On the 9th of May, which was Mother’s Day, he took to Instagram to wish her a happy mother’s day. He uploads pictures of his mother with captions that show how much he misses her from time to time.
Ayanda Khumalo, Sibongile Khumalo’s Daughter Also Follows Her Mother’s Footsteps
Like her brother, Sibongile Khumalo’s daughter, Ayanda Khumalo, is also into music. There is currently very little or no information about her available. Unlike her brother, who is also interested in playing instruments aside from singing, Ayanda took after her mother’s amazing vocal skills.
She has also hit several milestones in her career. Ayanda performed at the opening of the Assylem Atelje Gallery in Newtown and Isililo – A Mother’s Cry Campaign youth concert. When her mother was still alive, she graced her Sibongile Khumalo’s 20th Anniversary Concert with her soul-lifting vocals in 2012.
Like her brother, the death of their mother was not an easy pill to swallow, but somehow, they are getting over the sad incident. And Sibongile Khumalo is certainly proud of her children wherever she is now.
The Iconic Vocalist Lost Her Husband In 2005
Before her death early in 2021, the First Lady of Songs was widowed for about 16 years. She was married to Siphiwe Khumalo, who lost his life in 2005 after a heart attack. He was a sound technician, actor, production manager, venue manager, and drama coach to stage management students.
Reports have it that he returned from the mall on the day he died; feeling stressed, he laid on a couch where he had a heart attack. The death of her husband was not easy for her to take, but being the strong woman she is, she remained strong and focused her energy on advancing her career.
Sibongile Khumalo Died on 28th January 2021
After staying off Instagram for almost three months, her fans hoped that she would resume uploading pictures and updating them with information about the next event she will be performing at, but that never happened. Rather, on the 28th of January, her picture was uploaded with a caption announcing her demise at age 63.
Although the official announcement of her death did not contain any cause, the news of her death was heartbreaking to fans who took to the comment section to express how they felt. From the comments, you can easily tell that she was loved by so many people to who she was a source of inspiration.
According to her family members, her last days were very challenging for her, as she had been suffering from stroke for four years and required the help of her daughter to move around. Before her death, she was even finding it difficult to speak to anyone.
She was laid to rest a week after her death, and her funeral ceremony was held at Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg. Only close friends and family attended it due to the COVID-19 pandemic prevention measures.
Sibongile Khumalo Performed At The 75th Birthday of Nelson Mandela
Sibongile Khumalo, who is a graduate of the University of Madimba Institute of African Music and the University of Zululand, and was also the Head of the Music Department at the Federated Union of Black Arts, was able to earn her degree and attend such academic heights around the 1980s
She officially started her music career in 1992, and it did not take any time to blossom as a year after, she was already performing at the 75th birthday of Nelson Mandel. In 1994, she performed at his inauguration, where he pronounced her ‘South Africa’s First Lady of Songs,’ a name that stayed with her until her death.
At the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final, she sang the national anthem of South Africa and New Zealand – this was one of the major highlights of her career. In the course of her career, she released albums like Immortal Secrets (2000), Sibongile Khumalo (2006), and Breath of Life (2016), among many others.
In 2007, she started up a foundation called Khabi Mngoma Foundation, which focused on raising funds for Khongisa Academy for the Performing Arts, a performing arts school founded by her father, who it is named after. Despite being late, Sibongile Khumalo still lives on in the heart of her family members, children, those she inspires, and the people touched by her music.