Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Henry Cele

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Occupation  Actor, footballer
Name  Henry Cele

Role  Actor
Children  Khumbulani Cele
Henry Cele standing in front of the three men in a scene from the 2001 tv movie Shaka Zulu

Born  30 January 1949 (1949-01-30) Durban, South Africa
Died  November 2, 2007, Durban, South Africa
Spouse  Jenny Hollander (m. ?–2007)
Movies and TV shows  Shaka Zulu, Shaka Zulu: The Last Grea, The Ghost and the Darkness, Panga, Blind Justice

Similar  Joshua Sinclair, Nandi (mother of Shaka), Daphney Hlomuka


Henry Cele ([hɛnˈri ˈkǀɛːle]) (30 January 1949 – 2 November 2007) was a South African actor noted for his portrayal of the great Zulu Warrior King Shaka kaSenzangakhona in the South African television miniseries Shaka Zulu.


Henry Cele with a tight-lipped smile while wearing a long-sleeved

Grace Jones - Shaka Zulu: The Last Great Warrior


Henry Cele wearing traditional tribal clothes

Henry Cele was born on 30 January 1949 in KwaMashu, Durban, South Africa. As a member of the Cele family he was referred to by his clan name Ndosi (Bavela KwaMthetwa), or Magaye.

As an athlete

Henry Cele smiling while wearing a black coat, white long sleeves, and gray necktie and the woman beside him wearing a gray and black blouse

Cele, nicknamed "Black Cat" for his prowess as a goalkeeper, played for Aces United in the old South African Soccer League (SASL) in the 1960s. He also played for Zulu Royals (AmaZulu) soccer team in Lamontville Township and coached a professional soccer club in South Africa until his death. On Saturdays, he played for Durity Football Club in the Commercial Football League in Durban.

As an actor

Henry Cele wearing traditional tribal clothes

As an actor, Henry was an international star, performing in his native South Africa and in the United States as well. Cele was selected for the role of Shaka in the miniseries after performing the same role in a South African stage production of Shaka Zulu. Cele was highlighted in the African American Jet Magazine (3 November 1986 issue, page 57) regarding his role in Shaka Zulu–The Mini Series. He appeared in major roles in South African movies and television series programs as well as international films.

Later years and death

Grace Jones looking at Henry Cele in a scene from the 2001 tv movie Shaka Zulu

In later years, Cele moved from his suburban home in Glenmore, south of Durban, and returned to his hometown in KwaMashu township.

Cele died on 2 November 2007 at St Augustine's Hospital in Durban. He is buried at the Stellawood Cemetery in Durban eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


  • Golden Plumes Award
  • References

    Henry Cele Wikipedia