It has been five months since the passing of veteran actor Menzi Ngubane. On 28 August he would have celebrated his 57th birthday.
And his family decided to honour him the same way he lived, by giving.
They are still struggling to accept he is gone. Menzi’s passing has not been easy on his family. His stepdaughter Siyasanga Sishuba (23) and wife Sikelelwa Ngubane have been attending counselling to help come to terms with his passing.
“It has been a difficult time, especially for my mother,” Siyasanga says.
“We have been going through therapy to help us come to terms with everything that happened emotionally. Although he was ill for some time, his death was unexpected because he was recovering,” Siyasanga says.
Just before his passing, Menzi had gone to visit home in KwaZulu-Natal.
“He was sick but was feeling better and had gone home to try and recover. When he was planning to come back, he contracted meningitis and started deteriorating until he passed,” Siyasanga says.
“But we are taking the healing one day at a time and we are focusing on continuing his legacy,” she adds.
Siyasanga and Menzi had a close relationship, and he raised her from when she was 15 years old in Grade 10.
“My dad and I were very similar, both quiet but friendly. We grew closer as I got older and he and my grandfather taught me how to drive,” Siyasanga says.
“Driving was our thing because he hated being behind the wheel. He was so happy on the day I got my license because it meant he had a personal driver,” she adds. “I truly miss him.”
On his birthday on 28 August, The Menzi Ngubane Foundation partnered with BrightSpark Foundation SA and his family and donated groceries and toys to his favourite children’s foundation, Ethembeni Home in Johannesburg.
“This was very close to my dad’s heart. Every year on his birthday he made sure he donated to Ethembeni and we wanted to continue his legacy,” Siyasanga says.
When Menzi died he had also been working on the Menzi Ngubane Life Book which was launched on the day and would be used in high schools on the Life Orientation Syllabus. The book will be distributed to grades nine, 10, and 11 pupils at Northview High School in Balfour, Johannesburg.
The Bachelor of Public Administration graduate daughter says while she looks for a job and tries to find her passion, she will serve her father's foundation.
“My dad was very passionate about working with young men, helping to make them better people in society finding out what goes through the mind of young boys and their daily challenges was a mission and I want to continue his vision through the foundation,” Siyasanga says.
“There is a lot more focus on girls and investing in the boy child means tackling gender-based violence, bullying, and body shaming which is what my father would have wanted.”