For over fifteen years, Siyabonga Shibe has been active in the South African film industry, winning the hearts of local TV show viewers with his impeccable acting talent. He took an interest in acting during his childhood and then honed his skills by taking part in his community plays and eventually studying drama in college. Beginning his professional career in 2002, the sensational actor has made worthwhile contributions to the SA film industry by scoring roles in multiple popular films and TV series. As a result, he has received several prestigious accolades, including SAFTA’s Golden Horn Award for Best Actor.
Siyabonga Shibe Was Born in SA’s Fourth-Largest Township in 1978
The former Scandal! actor is a native of Umlazi, a township in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, located in the southwest of Durban. He was born in his hometown, South Africa’s fourth-largest township and the only township with its registration plate. Siyabonga Shibe’s birth date is February 23rd, 1978. Thus, he is currently 45 years old. The actor was raised by his parents in his hometown of Umlazi, though their identities have been kept away from the media. It is also not known if Shibe has any siblings or is his parents’ only child as he is yet to make his background details public knowledge.
The Actor’s Educational Achievements
Siyabonga Shibe completed his basic education at Ganges Secondary School. While there, he developed a passion for acting, and his teachers encouraged him to pursue acting as a career. Consequently, he proceeded to Durban-based college, Technikon Natal (now known as the Durban University of Technology). There, he studied Drama, and during his time on campus, the talented actor created a theatre group known as Amagugu alongside some of his college mates. Upon completing his studies at Technikon Natal in 1999, he relocated from Durban to the City of Gold in search of greener pastures.
The Rockville Star Began His Career With a TV Commercial Role
Moving to Johannesburg to pursue a professional career in acting, the road wasn’t all that rosy for Siyabonga Shibe. He faced many challenges before landing his first acting role. Luck eventually shone on him when he was given a role in a TV commercial for HIV/AIDS awareness. Afterward, his acting talent paved the way for him in the film industry as multiple roles came knocking. He was first featured in a feature film titled The Stripes of a Hero before attaining a career breakthrough with his leading role of Sifiso in the SABC1 TV series, Gaz’lam.
Gaz’lam Made Shibe Famous
From 2002 through 2005, Siyabonga Shibe made appearances in 52 episodes of the drama series, Gaz’lam. His performances gained him a nomination from the South African Film and Television Awards. He then moved on to land another leading role, this time a titular role in a feature film titled James’ Journey to Jerusalem in 2003. The movie, which Renen Schorr produced, follows the story of an African teenager named James, who goes on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on behalf of his village people.
Siyabonga’s outstanding depictions in the movie won him the Best Male Actor Award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival. Consequently, he landed more roles, especially in popular local TV series afterward. In the early 2000s, The Wife actor played roles in both feature films and TV series, and they helped increase his height of fame in the country. He featured in Human Cargo (2004), The Trail (2006), Wild at Heart (2006), Bentley (2006), A Place Called Home (2006), Bay of Plenty (2007), and Silent Witness (2008) during this time.
What are The Biggest Roles of Siyabonga Shibe’s Acting Career?
In 2010, Shibe landed one of the biggest roles of his career—Kila in the e.tv soap opera, Scandal! He portrayed the character of a wit, shrewd, and violent taxi driver in the soapie from 2010 to 2014. His character was one of the show’s fan favorites, such that when he departed the show in 2014, his fans were heartbroken. As a result, he made a social media post for his fans, thanking them for their immense support during his time on the show. Following his excellent portrayal of Kila, the actor took home Duku Duku Award for the Best Actor in the year 2015.
Also, in that same year, he was cast as Kgosi in another e.tv drama series, Ashes to Ashes. Interestingly, his acting talent further garnered him recognition – a nomination for Best Actor from the South African Film & Television Awards. With his acting career having an upward trajectory in the 2010s, Siyabonga Shibe emerged as a TV star in 2017 when he joined the cast of the most-viewed South African TV show, Uzalo, and thus, left Johannesburg for Durban. He portrayed the character of Qhabanga Mhlongo in the series.
A versatile actor, Shibe played diverse roles in the multi-award-winning series. He played the role of a Detective, smooth operator gangster, corrupt pastor, and finally, a legitimate pastor, father, and husband. To the amazement of the Uzalo fans, he left the show in 2020, and it was rumored at the time that he was fired from the show, but he quickly debunked the rumor. His exit from Uzalo left the audience shattered. However, they are hoping he would return to the series after his on-screen wife, Gabisile (Baby Cele), recently returned to Uzalo after departing from the show together with Shibe in 2020.
After receiving a nomination for Best Actor from Simon Mabhunu Sabela KZN Film and Television Awards in 2021 for his role in Uzalo, the multi-award-winning actor moved on to reveal that he won’t be playing the role of Qhabanga in Uzalo again. However, he has continued to get his fans glued to their TV screens with his portrayals in the fifth season of the TV series, Rockville, where he plays the role of Kalashnikov. Siyabonga Shibe further played the role of Mandla in the 2020 film Red Cargo and was equally featured in the TV series, The Wife.
Highlights of Shibe’s Acting Roles
- Gaz’lam (as Sifiso)
- Bay of Plenty (as Mandla Nyawose)
- A Place Called Home (as Thami)
- Ashes to Ashes (Kgosi)
- Isidingo (as Detective Nelson Xaba)
- Scandal! (as Kila)
- Z’bondiwe (as Bheka Shabangu)
- Home Affairs (as Zakes)
- Mtunzini.com (as Waxy)
- Wild at Heart (Thembu Khumalo)
- Uzalo (as Qhabanga Khumalo)
- Madiba (as Chief Jongintaba)
- The Wife (as Gwaza Majola)
- Stokvel (as Richard)
- Silent Witness (as Maidstone)
- Red Cargo (as Mandla)
List of Siyabonga Shibe’s Biggest Career Achievements
- Jerusalem International Film Festival Award for Best Male Actor (2003)
- SAFTA’s Golden Horn Award for Best Actor in a TV Drama (nomination) (2006)
- Duku Duku Award for the Best Actor in a Drama (2015)
- SAFTA’s Golden Horn Award for Best Supporting Actor (nomination) (2015)
- Simon Mabhunu Sabela KZN Film and Television Award for Best Actor (nomination) (2021)
Who is Siyabonga Shibe’s Wife?
At the moment, Siyabonga Shibe is reportedly single. However, he is known to have had a long-term relationship with his baby mama, who is known as Keabetswe Letshwara. He took the relationship to the next level by popping the question in 2015 after seven years of dating. Soon after the engagement, Shibe paid lobola, and sadly, the pair parted ways in the next year. While dating, the actor and his ex-fiancée welcomed a son named Yena on September 27th, 2013.
Though the relationship didn’t end on a good note, the two have reconciled their differences and have been co-parenting their child ever since the break-up. The former couple decided that their son would be better off staying with Siyabonga. As a result, the actor has been a full-time single dad since 2016; nevertheless, his baby mama still gets to spend time with their son as much as she desires.