Menzi Ngubane: what a year!

By Drum Digital
15 December 2010

A TREE, presents, Santa hats, crackers, a clear blue sky and balmy sunshine... the perfect setting for a fabulous South African Christmas! And this family’s enjoying every minute as they relax on a veranda overlooking the outdoors.

Generations actor Menzi Ngubane deserves to take it easy with his loved ones – it’s been quite a year for the star. Already reeling from a serious car accident that kept his beloved wife in hospital for months, he also found himself at the centre of a scandal when a woman claimed he was the father of her love child.After the emotional rollercoaster he, his wife Lerato, and her little girl Aisha (6), have endured, they’re revelling in some precious downtime at the tranquil boutique hotel 93 on Jan Smuts in Joburg’s leafy Saxonwold.

They’re hoping this Christmas will be everything it’s supposed to be – a time of fun, food and family – and nothing like last year. Lerato’s accident happened just before the festive season and Menzi spent most of the holiday, and the months that followed, by his wife’s bedside, worried that she wouldn’t make it.

Lerato had been on her way to see a cousin when a car collided with hers as she prepared to take an off-ramp. Her car side-swiped the barrier and she was knocked unconscious. She spent three weeks in a coma after sustaining head injuries and suffered from bad headaches during her recovery process.

“When she eventually got out of hospital I had to make sure both breakfast and lunch were prepared before I left for work because she couldn’t do anything,” says Menzi, who plays tough guy Sibusiso Dlomo on SA’s most-watched soapie. “All day at work I’d be thinking of her and hoping she was okay.”

“Aww, baby, but it’s over now,” Lerato says softly and her husband squeezes her hand. The gorgeous 28-year-old marketer has made an almost complete recovery – the only sign of the horror crash is the fact she has minimal use of her right hand and needs another operation on her knuckles, which were badly broken. She wears pretty gloves to hide the scarring - and even brings a selection of stylish hand gear to slip on for our shoot.

Over the course of the day Menzi and Lerato do more than pose, play with their daughter and tuck into the Christmas treats on offer. They open up about their difficult year - and for the first time Menzi speaks about the results of the paternity test that affected the family so intensely.

THE love child drama broke just as life was returning to normal for the Ngubanes after the accident. It was a Sunday and Lerato was in church; Menzi, meanwhile, popped into the mall to buy a few things. “That’s when the Sunday paper caught my eye,” he says. “There it was: my name on the front page. I was in shock. I bought the paper and rushed home.”

He had to look carefully at the story and pictures in the paper before he remembered Nomzamo Hlela, the Durban-based woman claiming he was the father of her nine-yearold son (Menzi, this is our son, 24 May).

He decided from the start to play open cards with his wife. “He left the newspaper on the table for me to read when I got home,” Lerato says. She just wanted to know if his relationship with the woman had taken place before he met her.

Menzi was totally honest. Yes, he had had a relationship with Nomzamo but it was a long time ago, before he met Lerato. “I told my wife I had no idea why this woman would go public like this, instead of finding out for sure whether I was the father,” he says.

Read the full article in DRUM of 23 December 2010

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