Dumi Masilela (May 31st, 1988 – August 3rd, 2017; Aged 29) was a talented actor, musician, and former football player famously known for his role as Sifiso in e.tv’s Rhythm City. He was married to actress Simphiwe Ngema and their short-lived marriage didn’t produce any child.
South Africa was hit with shocking waves following the untimely demise of Dumi Masilela in August 2017. Even though the young star’s life was cut short at the mid-stage of his career, his multi-talent made him quite popular in the country. Dumi was not only known for his activities in the film and music industries, but also for his playing skills as a former professional footballer.
Dumi Masilela was Raised in Kempton Park
Dumi Masilela was born and raised in Kempton Park in the East Rand region of Gauteng. He was born on May 31st, 1988. The late singer grew up with his younger siblings in the East Rand region where they lived with their parents. He had two younger brothers, and one of them is Mbongeni Masilela.
Sadly, in May 2016, Dumi Masilela’s father, Simon Masilela succumbed to cancer. His mother, Sebatha Masilela, on the other hand, is still alive. She previously worked as a teacher at Eqinisweni High School in Ivory Park, Midrand.
Dumi Began Playing Soccer in His Teen Years
While attending the University of Pretoria, Dumi Masilela received a sports bursary from the university at the age of 16. Hence, he joined the university’s sports academy. Having proved himself a talented footballer on the field, Dumi got signed by the Premier Soccer League team, SuperSport United when he was 18 years old.
He signed a three-year contract with the club and shortly after, Masilela was involved in a ghastly auto crash that injured his leg. Sadly, the double fracture to one of his legs terminated his soccer-playing career. He was hospitalised for three months. Then for two years, he underwent intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
His Professional Music Career Took Off in 2012
While recovering from accident, Dumi Masilela rekindled his passion for music. It was difficult for him to cope knowing that he will no longer be able to play football again. He subsequently took to playing the piano to ease the hurt and it later became his therapy. He then felt the urge to showcase his musical talent to the world and thus, competed in the eighth season of the M-Net singing reality competition, Idols SA in 2012.
Dumisani Masilela made it through to the top 18 before he was evicted from the show. Though he didn’t progress to the top 10, his talent and potential were evident on the show. And it was through his participation in Idols SA that the late artist first got noticed in the entertainment sphere. Later in 2016, he dropped a single titled, ‘Shona Phansi’ which he dedicated to his wife.
In the following year, he disclosed that he was working on an EP. He equally recorded an emotional song, ‘Hamba’ a few days before his death.
Dumi Masilela’s Legacy
To keep her late husband’s legacy alive, Simphiwe Ngema continued in his footsteps. She released some of the music recorded by her husband including a posthumous studio album. She first dropped Dumi Masilela’s posthumous single, ‘Uphushiwe’ featuring Global Decaphe in September 2018. Then with the help of Bobo Jay Nzima and Hamilton Dlamini, she completed Dumi’s 10 songs album.
Later in December 2018, Simz released Dumi’s posthumous studio album titled, ‘Eternal Crush’. One of the songs in the album, ‘Yena’ was dedicated to her by her late husband. Following Dumi’s contribution to the arts, the Germiston Theatre was renamed in his honor.
Playing Sifiso Catapulted Dumi Masilela to Stardom
Following his performance in Idols SA, Dumi Masilela was asked by the producers of the e.tv soapie, Rhythm City to audition for the role of Sifiso Ngema. Despite having no formal training in acting, the then-24-year-old did well in the audition and was offered the role in 2012. He then debuted in the TV series in January of the next year.
— House of Zwide (@etvHouseOfZwide) October 19, 2017
Masilela is portrayed in the series as the character of a hustling street kid who was abandoned by his father at a young age. He played Sifiso Ngema in Rhythm City for over four years and it shot him to fame. After his death in August 2017, the producers of the e.tv soapie spoke to Dumi’s family about killing off his onscreen character in a hijacking and having a memorial service for him in the TV series.
Thereafter, Sifiso Ngema died in a hijacking in Rhythm City and the scene wasn’t shown in the series. However, his mother, Sebatha Masilela, and brother were part of the memorial service held for Dumi’s onscreen character. The onscreen memorial was used as a medium for the Rhythm City cast to say their final goodbye to their slain colleague.
Besides acting, Dumi Masilela was the co-founder of a production company called Appleseed Productions. He established it together with his best friend, Thato Mabaso and they aimed for the company to focus on the production of movies and TV series, as well as events and artist management.
What Really Happened to Dumi Masilela?
Dumi Masilela died from a gunshot wound in the early hours of August 3rd, 2017 at a hospital in Tembisa. He was shot while trying to escape a hijacking in Tembisa around 8:20 PM on the previous day. The actor was killed by a criminal gang of five men who began their criminal activities, including kidnapping, theft, and robbery on August 2nd, 2017 in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni.
— @etv (@etv) August 3, 2017
Their first victim was Sizwe Nqobile Shabangu whom they robbed of the keys to his Jeep Wrangler and forced him into the back of the car. Driving in a Toyota Quantum and the Jeep they stole, the criminals saw Dumi Masilela’s Golf 7 parked on Lebombo Street in Tembisa and stopped their cars to rob him of the Golf 7 at gunpoint.
In an attempt to hijack the car, Masilela drove off but was shot at by one of the criminals who tried to steal the car. And sadly, the bullet hit him in the stomach. Though he managed to drive off with the wound, at a point, he couldn’t drive again and his friend, Bongani Khumalo, who was with him when the botched hijacking occurred, took him to a hospital in the area.
The TV star was taken to the theatre for surgery at 9 PM and after five hours, the doctors told his family that he had lost so much blood and his condition wasn’t looking good. Shortly after, the doctors came back to tell Dumi’s family that he had passed on.
Did Dumi Masilela Know He was Going to Die?
Dumi’s better half, Simphiwe Ngema thinks that her late husband knew he was going to leave the world. A week before his death, Dumi had a weekend gig in East London, and even though he prepared to leave on Friday, he ended up not going. Meanwhile, on Thursday of that same week, he told his wife that despite having gone through a lot in their relationship, they have kept on being happy.
At that moment, the two reflected on their journey together, and Simphiwe believes that the conversation was Dumi’s goodbye to her. She also narrated that her late husband recorded a goodbye song titled, ‘Hamba’ four days before he died. When he played the song to Simphiwe, she told him that he sang the song with his soul and Dumi Masilela admitted that he was crying while singing the song.
Also, the weekend before his death, the late musician was moody and stopped talking to his wife. Finding his behavior weird, Simz asked Dumi what was wrong but he didn’t give her an answer, instead, he would hold her tightly when they go to bed. Then he finally spoke to his wife on the Wednesday morning he got shot.
Surprisingly, Dumi Masilela bought a birthday present for his love, Simphiwe Ngema on that same day he died. And he showed his mother where he kept the gift so she could help him present it to Simz on her birthday on August 29th, 2017.
Adverse Effect of Dumi’s Death on His Family
— DRUM has moved to SNL24.com (@DrumMagazine) August 3, 2017
Dumi Masilela’s untimely death was very difficult for his family to survive. Upon hearing the news of his nephew’s demise, Masilela’s aunt, Grace Mahlangu passed away on the same day the musician died. The 72-year-old had shock and pain which got her diabetic levels high. When the paramedics arrived, she was confirmed to have died as a result of a diabetic coma.
Also, Dumi Masilela’s mother battled with depression soon after the death of her son. Having lost her husband the previous year and her son and sister-in-law on the same day, Sebatha Masilela got depressed and was ineffective at her place of work. As a result, she lost her teaching job at Eqinisweni High School in Ivory Park.
Dumi’s death did not only affect his family emotionally but financially too. Hence, his siblings weren’t also in a good space and one of them took to drugs and alcohol abuse. With the family being financially incapacitated at the time, they couldn’t afford to get help for him.
However, after justice was served for Dumi Masilela’s murder in 2021, his uncle, Tumelo Mogase was grateful that the late actor’s mother was still standing strong having gone through a lot; losing her husband, her son, and her job.
Dumi Masilela’s Burial with a Luxury Three-ton Tombstone
— Sunday World News (@SundayWorldZA) August 15, 2017
Dumi Masilela was laid to rest on August 12th, 2017 at Zuurfontein cemetery in Kempton Park. At the emotional send-off, a South African flag was flanked by Ekurhuleni metro police officers throughout the funeral proceedings and the youngster’s coffin was covered with a South African flag as well.
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) August 9, 2017
After the actor’s burial, his grave was marked with a three-ton tombstone that has a special feature to rotate. The tombstone was built to reflect Dumi Masilela’s talent and personality and it reportedly cost about R160,000. Dumi’s funeral service was held at Hope Restoration Church in Kempton Park. It was the same church where his father’s funeral service was held in 2016.
Life Sentence for Dumi Masilela’s Murderers
During the burial of Dumi Masilela on August 12th, 2017, Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor Mzandile Masina disclosed that he had been informed by the Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, that suspects who were involved in the murder of the late singer had been apprehended.
Later in August 2021, their identities were disclosed as Mashudu Malema (34), Bongani John Masombuka (37), Khumbudzo Solomon Mukhuba (31), Sfundo Harrison Nkosi (33), and Brien Makhubedu (27).
— Eyewitness News (@ewnupdates) August 7, 2017
During investigations, it was uncovered that Mukhuba was the person that shot Dumi Masilela. He was arrested five days after the day of the hijacking for possession of an unlicensed firearm. After his arrest, the rest of the gang fled to Rustenburg where they continued with their criminal activities. Masombuka was arrested some days later in Rustenburg.
Nkosi, on the other hand, handed himself over to the police on August 15th, 2017. Then in 2018, Malemba and Makhubedu were apprehended. The five of them got convicted in the first week of August 2021 during their appearance at Pretoria High Court. They were charged with kidnapping, murder, theft, possession of firearms, robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder, and possession of ammunition.
Throughout the trial, the criminals did not show any remorse for their actions. Consequently, they were sentenced to life imprisonment by judge Papi Mosopa. During the trial, Dumi Masilela’s mother identified some of his son’s killers as ex-students of Eqinisweni High School where she taught.
Masilela’s family was grateful that justice was served at last. Also, they were thankful to the presiding judge, National Prosecuting Authority, and the police.
Dumisani Met His Wife in May 2014
Dumisani Masilela got acquainted with Simphiwe “Simz” Ngema through her best friend Joanne Ryneke. The two met at Joanne’s child’s birthday party in May 2014. Although Simz felt attracted to Dumi on their first encounter, she advised herself against entering a new relationship as she was just coming out from one.
Dumi Masilela was head over heels in love with Simz at the time they met. And with the help of their mutual friend, Joanne Ryneke, he got to take Simphiwe out to lunch. Afterward, the two became inseparable. Knowing what he wanted, the late thespian made it known to Simphiwe Ngema on their first date that she was his wife.
The Couple Tied the Knot Two Months Before Dumi Masilela’s Death
Simpihiwe Ngema and Dumi Masilela got married traditionally on May 20th and 21st, 2017. Before the wedding, the ‘Yena’ singer had paid his sweetheart’s lobola in January 2016. They kept their relationship on the low key that even when they got married, it wasn’t publicized.
However, the couple decided to share the news of their marriage with the public a few days after their wedding. They were so fond of each other and best of friends during their short-lived marriage. With Dumi passing two months after his wedding to Simz, the actress’ world crumbled and she struggled to cope without her hubby.
After over a year of mourning and clinching to Dumisani’s memory, Simphiwe decided it was time to let go and she said her final goodbye to her late husband in a song titled, ‘Thanda Ngempela’ in 2019. Since her husband’s death, Simz has been paying tribute to him every year. In 2022, she paid tribute to Dumi through a heartfelt song on the fifth anniversary of his death.
Dumi and Simz’s Death Pact
— TshisaLIVE (@TshisaLIVE) August 12, 2017
Five months after her husband’s demise, Simphiwe revealed that she made a pact with Dumi in June 2017. They agreed that when they were old and in their last days on earth, Dumisani would die first and then give Simphiwe Ngema two days to prepare his funeral before he would come to fetch her. Based on the agreement, two days after Simz’s husband passed on, she took her bath, got dressed, and went into the restroom.
She sat there for hours waiting for Dumi to fetch her. While there crying, people kept on knocking on the door. She told herself that if she gets up, it meant that she had betrayed Dumisani Masilela and was accepting his death. She eventually accepted her husband’s death a few years later and has moved on with her life.
Who is Dumi Masilela’s Wife?
Dumi Masilela’s wife, Simphiwe “Simz” Ngema is an actress, singer, and presenter. She is widely recognized for playing Thuli in Muvhango. She was born in Soweto on August 29th, 1989, and lost her husband at the age of 27. In addition to Muvhango, Simz was cast in the play, The Game in December 2016.
She also had a role in the reality show, Preachers Kids in 2017. Then in the following year, she debuted in The Queen as slay queen, Buhle.
Did Dumi Masilela Have a Child?
No, Dumi Masilela didn’t welcome a child with his wife, Simphiwe Ngema, while alive. Nonetheless, his wife was rumored to be 10 weeks pregnant soon after his death. The rumor, however, was debunked by Dumisani’s family as the former Muvhango actress was not pregnant at the time.
Simz and her late husband were trying for a child when he died. And the two planned on having kids first before going for a white wedding. Sadly, their plans were cut short by death. However, in August 2020, Simphiwe shared pictures of her baby bump online.
Meanwhile, she had already had a son with Zimbabwean actor and model Tino Chinyani in June 2020 but kept the news away from the media. Tino and Simphiwe’s son is christened Tiyani Kemorena Michael Chinyani.