Leleti Khumalo is a South African actress best known for her leading role in the movie and stage play Sarafina! She is also recognized for her roles in films such as Hotel Rwanda, Yesterday, and Invictus, as well as the soap opera Imbewu: The Seed (she plays Nokubonga “MaZulu” Bhengu on the show). She also plays MaNzuza in Uzalo.
Leleti Khumalo was born in Kwamashu township, north of Durban, South Africa, on March 30, 1970. She turned 53 years old on March 30, 2023.
The exact estimate of Leleti Khumalo’s net worth is unknown to the public. She has not disclosed it. However, her success in the South African film scene and globally means she has good money in the bank.
Khumalo’s first marriage was to Mbongeni Ngema, who wrote the lead character of Sarafina for her. They later divorced. She later married businessman Skhutazo Winston Khanyile.
In 1985 Khumalo auditioned for a Mbongeni Ngema musical. The musical became the international blockbuster Sarafina! Ngema wrote the lead character of Sarafina for her. She performed the role on stages in South Africa and on Broadway. For her performance on Broadway, she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical in 1988. Sarafina!’s Broadway run lasted two years, after which the production embarked on a worldwide tour.
Khumalo received an NAACP Image Award for Best Stage Actress in 1987. She starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg, Miriam Makeba, and John Kani in Darrell James Roodt’s film version of Sarafina! in 1992. The film had a worldwide distribution and became the biggest film production to be released on the African continent. For her performance, she was nominated for an Image Award alongside Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg, and Janet Jackson.
Sarafina! is based on the 1976 Soweto youth uprisings. It is the story of a young school girl who isn’t afraid to fight for her rights. She inspires her peers to rise in protest. She motivates them after their inspirational teacher, Mary Masombuka (played by Whoopi Goldberg), is imprisoned and murdered. To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the youth uprisings in Soweto, the film was re-released in South Africa on 16 June 2006.
Khumalo has two children, with her second husband, Skhuthazo Winston Khanyile. There were previously three but she miscarried one and bore twins.
Khumalo suffers from a rare skin disease, vitiligo. She has had it for serval years, and it is seen on several parts of her body including her face and hands. She shared that she has learned how to live with it by researching more about the condition. She also dedicated herself to publicizing the condition.
Khumalo starred in several other popular films, including Hotel Rwanda in 2004. It is a historical drama about the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Also, in 2004, she starred in Yesterday, a film that told the story of the struggles of a young HIV-positive mother. Her role in the film received rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film won an award at the Pune International Film Festival. Khumalo also starred in “Cry, the Beloved Country (1995),” “Faith’s Corner (2005),” “Invictus (2009),” “Voices of Sarafina (1988),” “Winnie Mandela (2011),” “Africa United (2010),” “Hopeville (2010),” “Free State (2016),” and “Cry Of Love (2016).”
She co-starred in Mbongeni Ngema’s international musical Magic at 4 AM, dedicated to the late iconic Muhammad Ali. In 1996, she also starred in another Ngema musical, Mama. The musical toured Europe and Australia. She starred in Sarafina 2 in 1997.
Leleti Khumalo is also recognized for her feature in several series, including “Imbewu: The Seed,” “Generations,” and “Uzalo.”