Patience Africa

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Patience Africa (b. Chesterville, Durban, 10/12/1938 - d. Malvern, Johannesburg, 19/06/2007) was a singer, songwriter and actress on stage, in film and on television.


Patience Nomkhosi Africa was born in Chesterville, Durban and was educated at primary and secondary school level at Anglican schools in Ladysmith. She was a student nurse at King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban and then worked as a receptionist for a local doctor. In 1965 she married Simon Ngema and took a break to have four children, only returning to show business in the 1970’s after he left her. She died of cardiac illness in June 2007

Musical career

Primarily a singer, started her recording career at 23 working with Rocky Jila’s Jazz Sledge and went on to work with many of the South African greats including Abigail Kubeka’s The Skylarks (founded by Miriam Makeba), West Nkosi, Jacob "Mpharayana" Radebe, Mathlathini and the Mahotela Queens, Ray Phiri, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Mac Mathunjwa – with whom she co-wrote a number of songs – and his group: The Peddlers.

She won a number of awards in the late 1970’s, and in 2006 recorded her last album.

Contribution to South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance

Her stage work included plays such as Dingaka, Burning Embers, Julius Caesar, When the Locusts Come and Night of the Long Wake.

Film work included u'Deliwe (Simon Sabela/1975), Inkedama (Simon Sabela/1975) and Isala Kutshelwa.

For television she did the televised rock opera The Master’s Plan'', Academy, My Home and In the Name of Love.


Rand Daily Mail, 10 December 1976

De Beer, 1995,

Joyce, 1999,

Barron, 2007

The Star, 22 June 2007.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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