South African actress and singer.
Born: March 30, 1970 in KwaMashu, South Africa.
She was nominated for Broadway's 1988 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Musical) for "Sarafina," in a role she recreated in the film version of the same title, Sarafina!.
Leleti was born in 1970 at Kwa Mashu Township in the North of Durban. Growing up in the poverty of township life, she was initiated into a youth backyard dance group called Amajika mentored by Tu Nokwe.
In 1985, she auditioned for Mbongeni Ngema's upcoming new musical, which was to became the international blockbuster "Sarafina!" Ngema wrote the lead character of Sarafina for her.
Leleti enchanted audiences in South Africa and on Broadway, where she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress. "Sarafina!" stayed for two years on Broadway before embarking on a worldwide tour. In 1987 she received an NAACP Image Award for Best Stage Actress.
In 1991, together with Whoopi Goldberg, Khumalo starred in Darrell James Roodt's film version of "Sarafina!" which was distributed worldwide, and became the biggest film production to be released in the African continent. Again she was nominated for the film Image Award together with Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg and Janet Jackson.
In 1993, Khumalo released her first album, "Leleti and the Sarafina," and co-starred in Ngema's international hit musical "Magic at 4 AM" which was dedicated to the legend of Muhammed Ali. She then starred in Ngema's musical "Mama" (1996), which toured Europe and Australia. In 1997, she also starred in Ngema's "Sarafina 2."
Khumalo moved into dramatic acting when she starred in the play "Koze Kuse," written by Selo Make Kancube. She then played a role in Darrell James Roodt's film "Cry, the Beloved Country" (1995) of Alan Paton's novel, produced by Anant Singh and starring Richard Harris and James Earl Jones. She was also featured on the TV series "The African Skies," and appeared in a number of TV commercials.
Leleti next had another success on stage with "The Zulu" (1999) written and directed by Mbongeni Ngema, about King Cetshwayo and the Battle of Isandlwane in the Anglo Zulu War. In 2000 she was awarded an acting diploma by the Mbongeni Ngema Academy of Performance Excellence. Khumalo next starred in the 2003 musical extravaganza "Stimela Sase Zola" at the African Bank Market Theatre in Johannesburg in 2003.
She starred in the Zulu language feature film, "Yesterday" which received an Academy Award Nomination in the Best Foreign Language Category in 2005, and she was also featured in the "Hotel Rwanda," with Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte. "Faith's Corner" saw her work once again with the team that made "Yesterday" - director Darrell James Roodt and producer, Anant Singh. She currently stars in the popular South African television series, ?Generations'.