UMOJA’s narrator dies on Reconciliation Day

Penuel Bhekizitha Ndaba or ‘Hope’ as he was fondly known to all was a true UMOJA warrior. With December 16 being the Day of Reconciliation in South Africa – a day to foster national unity, it seems only apt to be the day to celebrate the life of Hope who stood for UMOJA’s ‘Spirit of Togetherness’.

Born on the 22nd of October 1955 in the township of Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal, Hope was a self-taught musician and performer.

UMOJA was his first theatre role. He was always up for a challenge and when the opportunity came to work with Todd Twala and Thembi Nyandeni, he didn’t hesitate. He worked with Todd and Thembi on a narrative storyline for UMOJA and found that his own experiences as a musician, living through the tumultuous political changes and developments in his country, began to ring through the music.

“Although this is not my personal story, yet I see my own, the musicians’ and indeed the people of South Africa’s story appearing in UMOJA. It is wonderful to be telling this story to so many different people all over the world.” – Hope Ndaba

Hope recently returned back to South Africa after performing at the opening night of UMOJA in Washington DC in early November. UMOJA is one of South Africa’s longest standing theatre productions. The cast are still currently on tour in the USA.

His humility, love and talent can be felt in all the messages of sympathy being sent from people all around the globe and from the UMOJA team.

“Mr Ndaba’s indubitable contribution to the struggle for freedom in South Africa, through his art and his commitment to promotion the South African story uniquely all over the globe will forever be cherished.” – Ebrahim Rasool, SA ambassador in the United States of America

“In the 15 years that I worked with him, I discovered that he had qualities that very few men could claim. He was humble and always ready to assist till the end. Travel safe my old friend.” – Joe Theron, producer of UMOJA.

“Let us take this time to celebrate the life of this special man. You died a soldier, fighting with bravery. Memories remain and your purpose was served. May your soul rest in peace.” – Todd Twala, co-creator of UMOJA.

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