Leleti Khumalo has spoken about the 30th anniversary of Sarafina

Leleti Khumalo is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Sarafina.
Image via Instagram

‘June is Sarafina month’: Leleti Khumalo on iconic role 30 years later

‘Sarafina’ is celebrating 30 years since it’s release in 1992. Here is why lead star Leleti Khumalo thinks the movie is still relevant today.

Leleti Khumalo has spoken about the 30th anniversary of Sarafina

Leleti Khumalo is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Sarafina.
Image via Instagram

Sarafina is a movie engraved in our history and according to lead actress Leleti Khumalo, still relevant to South African youth thirty years after its release in 1992. 

The veteran star of the iconic movie, which documented the Soweto Uprising of 1976, is also a firm favourite every Youth Day.

ALSO READ: Leleti Khumalo’s ‘Sarafina’ dance moves with ‘Imbewu’ cast is a must-watch


Speaking to Drum magazine, Leleti Khumalo spoke about the impact Sarafina had on not just South Africa, but the world.

She said “I do not even think the producers had any idea that we were making history. It is a film, yes, but it is a part of our history,” she says.

According to the 52-year-old star, she still receives messages from fans around the world every Youth Day. She continued: “It is an honour, it’s humbling and heartwarming. June should just be Sarafina month because most youth day celebrations include some element from the movie”.

Lelethi Khumalo also spoke about starring in the Voices of Sarafina musical, produced by Mbongeni Ngema and the late Hugh Masekela, which premiered on Broadway in 1988.

She said: “This was the first production that introduced me to the industry globally. I was about 22 years old at the time and it opened a lot of doors for us. It also put South Africa on the map. I remember being in New York during a tour and people were talking about how great it was.”

Leleti Khumalo also revealed that her own children are interested in her Sarafina role and in particular the dance routines from the movie.

“Tere is also a new generation that is also enjoying. My twins are 9 years old and they asked me to teach them the dance because they were going to do it at school.

“I taught them and it was so much fun for us. They have loved the film since their father played it for them. It was so cute going to their school to watch them perform. Little grade threes doing it, it was so moving.”


It’s been three decades since the release of Sarafina, but what has happened to the cast of the hit movie?

Leleti Khumalo – who played thew titular role in Sarafina – has continued film and TV roles and has starred in other award-winning movies like Yesterday, Invictus, and Hopeville. She currently can be seen in e.TV telenovela Imbewu: The Seed.

Whoopi Goldberg (Teacher Mary Masembuko) has also enjoyed a seasoned career starring in dozens of movies including Sister Act, Ghost, The Colour Purple, and many, many others. Today she is a co-host of the US talk show The View.

Other characters continued in the industry and are still familiar faces. They include Dumisani Dlamini (Crocodile), Sindi Dlathu (Sarafina’s student friend), Somizi Mhlongo (Fire), Baby Cele, John Kani (Principal), and Mbongeni Ngema (Sabelo).

A few of the Sarafina movie’s stars have since died, including Miriam Makeba (Angelina), Mary Twala (Sarafina’s grandmother), and Wendy Mseleku (singing student).