Bavikile Ngema

Bavikile ‘MaBhengu’ Ngema was born in 1951 in the Nkandla district of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Learning from her sisters and cousins Ngema grew into a virtuoso uMakhweyana and uMqangala (uMbheleza) player and a prolific composer.

Ngema has developed a unique uMakhweyana technique that brings out a fourth fundamental note from the single-stringed instrument.

Apart from Nguni musical bows, she is also known for performing on harmonica and indigenous harp known as Isitolotolo.Over many years she perfected the art and science of uMakhweyana making. She has refined her skills to assessing construction materials for the required sound and occasion of her instrument. As a custodian of the uMakhweyana heritage, many researchers have consulted her for her expertise.


Music in Africa. 2016. Bavikile Ngema. [ONLINE] Available at: