Sfiso Ncwane Biography: Early Life, Career, Family, Awards, Music & Untimely Passing

The gospel singer that pulled at our heart strings.

By  | May 20, 2020, 01:28 PM  | Sfiso Ncwane  | Top of The

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The South African gospel singer, Sfiso Ncwane was born and bred in Mthwalume, in the South of KZN back in 1979, 21 April. When he was just two weeks old, his mother passed him over to his aunt to raise him. Sfiso Ncwane found faith in Christianity at an early age after his aunt put him in the local church choir-it was there, when Sfiso discovered his talent and his passion.

Sfiso Ncwane singing on stage. Photo credit: africamania.com

Sfiso’s Humble Beginnings 

In spite of coming from a very poor family background, Sfiso discovered his talent to sing and started singing at a tender age of 8 years. When he reached 10, he began singing Gospel songs.

While Sfiso was going through health problems including fainting, being struck by lightning and mentally challenged as a young boy, he did not stop his faith in his God and continued to go to church and sing.

During the mid-nineties, he learnt to play keyboards, bass guitar and drums without any formal training. This led to him getting invites to perform at other local churches besides his own, weddings, parties and funerals.

He was eventually spotted by a man who opened doors for him to sing professionally. He then recorded his very first album titled Vulamasango, meaning Open the Doors. A song that shot him into stardom.

Sfiso with wife Ayanda Ncwane. Photo credit: okmzansi.co.za

Sfiso’s Family

His life continued to change for the better, as he got married to his long-time partner and mother of his children, Ayanda Ncwane. The pair was blessed with 2 children, Ngcweti and last born Umawenzokuhle.

Sfiso’s Career

Ncwane recorded his first professional album with Bula Music which was produced by Tshepo Ndzimande, who has produced many legendary gospel artists albums. This album was titled Makadunyiswe (May He be praised). The work produced on this album got him major recognition within the Gospel industry. 

The following year he released Inombolo Yasezulwini (The phone number to heaven), where he featured the late legendary Vuyo Mokoena and Zodwa Twecu, and this album went on to become a bestseller.

In 2003 he released Umkhuleko (Prayer) and which he once stated that he believed that this track was a God sent. This statement may be true, as many of Sfiso’s fans confirmed that this track changed their lives. The album brought hope to many people’s lives, and it became a multi-selling album which changed the Gospel genre in South Africa.

Sfiso live at church. Photo credit: citizen.co.za
The album was No. 1 on all South African radio stations and went on to introduce him to other neighbouring countries throughout Africa, which meant that he had finally become a true international gospel star.

Sfiso Ncwane was then approached by CCP Records which is part of EMI Records.
With his career on the move, Sfiso went on to release his first album with EMI which was titled Baba Ngiyavuma

The year 2006 proved to be a great year for Sfiso Ncwane since he was granted the opportunity to work with the likes of the Queen of Gospel – Rebecca Malope, Winnie Mashaba, Sipho Makhabane and others. He then later went on to release a DVD of this album, with his last album with EMI being titled Isiphephelo Sami (My Redeemer). 

Sfiso’s Success Continues

Through his love for music, Sfiso went on to launch his own music company called Sfiso Ncwane Productions. His album Baba Ngiyavuma (Father I Believe), which featured the hit award winning song Phakama Nkosi yeZulu (Be Lifted Up Lord of Heavens). This was his first offering from his production company, which went on to sell more than 70 000 units (Platinum Status). 

His long term goal before passing, was for his company to assist young upcoming artists who have the talent for producing and writing songs.

Sfiso & Ayanda on the red carpet at the South African Gospel Awards. Photo credit: peoplemagazine.co.za

Sfiso’s Awards

Late in 2011, Ncwane then released another huge hit song Kulungile Baba (It is Well Father), this song went multi-platinum in just 16 months. Selling 328 000 copies and still selling like hot cakes long after it’s release. Kulungile Baba was nominated for Song of the year at the SABC Crown Awards. It won the biggest award in the music industry at the SAMA19 for ‘Record of the year’ in 2013, and won an AGMA Award. An award that is a London based Gospel Award.

Sfiso Gives Back

Sfiso did a lot of philanthropic work for various communities at large, as a token of his appreciation for the support that they have granted him throughout his career. He later decided to open the S’fiso Ncwane Bursary Foundation.
From this foundation he donated school uniforms to more than 1000 school children and has donated more than R10 000 to local schools in remote rural areas.

To add on to Sfiso's charity work, he went on to record an album of which he donated the proceeds to orphaned children in Johannesburg.

Sfiso’s Untimely Death

Sfiso unfortunately passed away on Monday morning, 05 December 2016 after being ill for a while. It was reported that he had been diagnosed with kidney failure. On Sunday night, 04 December 2016, he was feeling weak and his wife called paramedics, who rushed him to hospital and  he was admitted into hospital that same evening. He was later moved to the intensive care unit (ICU) where he died on Monday morning, 05 December 2016 at 09h30.

Sfiso Ncwane left behind his parents, David Wewe Zikhali & Fikile Ncwane, his wife Ayanda Ncwane and their two kids. He also left behind his other kids from previous relationships-his daughter, Nqobile Mzelemu, Mandisa, and Sduduzo Dlamini from his hometown,  Mthwalume. 

He was a God fearing man and was loved by gospel fanatics from all over the world. Sfiso Ncawne left behind a legacy for his family and set a high standard of what Gospel music means to many who find strength in their faith.

The gospel singer was known for always being a humble man. He was never boastful or too proud of his blessings and his success. Instead he shared his blessings with others who were less fortunate and never sought public praise for his work to his charities. This could also be why his fans followed his career and continued to support him because of his character and his commitment to his fans, family and his faith.

Sfiso Ncwane's life, the impact of his music made on the lives of thousands of people and the legacy he has left behind was rumoured to become the content of an upcoming documentary. The documentary was said to be released on the 5th of December in 2017 which marked the first anniversary since his untimely passing.

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