Leleti Khumalo Biography

Leleti Khumalo Biography

Leleti Khumalo, born on 30 March 1970 in Durban, South Africa, is a renowned actress who has made significant contributions to the film and theatre industry. She has been active in her career since 1988 and is best known for her role in the movie and stage play “Sarafina!”.

Personal Life

Leleti Khumalo has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Mbongeni Ngema in 1992, which ended in divorce in 2005. She later married businessman Skhuthazo Winston Khanyile in 2012. The couple is blessed with two children, twins Ulwenzile and Yamukelani Khanyile.

Early Life and Rise to Fame

Born and raised in KwaMashu township, north of Durban, South Africa, Khumalo showed an interest in performing from an early age. She joined a youth backyard dance group called Amajika, mentored by Tu Nokwe. In 1985, she auditioned for the Mbongeni Ngema musical which was to become the international blockbuster “Sarafina!”. Ngema wrote the lead character of Sarafina for Khumalo, marking the beginning of her rise to stardom.

Career Highlights


Khumalo’s performance in “Sarafina!” on stages in South Africa and on Broadway earned her a 1988 Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. The production had a Broadway run lasting two years, after which it embarked on a worldwide tour. In 1987, Khumalo received a NAACP Image Award for Best Stage Actress. In 1992, she starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg, Miriam Makeba, and John Kani in Darrell James Roodt’s film version of “Sarafina!”, which had a worldwide distribution and became the biggest film production to be released on the African continent.

Other Roles

After “Sarafina!”, Khumalo co-starred in Mbongeni Ngema’s international musical “Magic at 4 AM” which was dedicated to Muhammad Ali. She subsequently starred in another Ngema musical, “Mama” (1996), which toured Europe and Australia. In 1997, she starred in “Sarafina 2”. Khumalo also starred in the 2004 movies “Hotel Rwanda” and “Yesterday”; the latter was nominated for a 2005 Academy Award in the category “Best Foreign Language Film”.

Television Career

In 2005, Khumalo joined the cast of one of South Africa’s longest-running soap operas, “Generations”, as Busiswe (Busi) Dlomo, a refined and altruistic no-nonsense woman who heads up her own publishing empire, based in Cape Town. In 2015, Khumalo joined the cast of “Uzalo” and played as Zandile “MaNzuza” Mdletshe. The role marked her first on-screen appearance after a two-year hiatus from acting to raise her children.

Also read: Asavela Mqokiyana Biography: Age, Education, Career, Husband, Fight With Her Father, Net Worth & Expensive Lifestyle


In 2015, Leleti was invited to Zanzibar Island, Tanzania, as a chief guest of the famous African film festivals known as the Zanzibar film Festivals, for its 18th anniversary celebrations. This recognition is a testament to her significant contributions to the film industry.

In conclusion, Leleti Khumalo’s journey from a young girl in KwaMashu township to an internationally recognized actress is a testament to her talent, hard work, and dedication to her craft. Her roles in films and stage plays have not only entertained audiences worldwide but also shed light on important social issues, making her a true icon of South African cinema.

Net Worth

Leleti Khumalo, a renowned South African actress, has made a significant impact in the film and theatre industry. Her remarkable performances and contributions have not only earned her fame and recognition but also a substantial financial net worth.

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO – NOVEMBER 27: Leleti Khumalo attends the “Memory” screening during the 20th Marrakech International Film Festival on November 27, 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)

As of the year 2024, it is estimated that Leleti Khumalo’s net worth falls between $400,000 and $1 million. This range is based on various factors such as her earnings from acting roles, endorsements, and other undisclosed sources of income.

While the aforementioned range is widely accepted, there are some sources that estimate her net worth to be around $3 million. This discrepancy can be attributed to the different methods used in calculating net worth and the varying degrees of access to personal financial information.

Follow Us on Facebook | Follow Us on Instagram | Also Follow Us on Twitter | Join Our WhatsApp Channel

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *