Abigail Kubeka biography: age, education, awards, assault, shows

Abigail Kubeka (born on 19 January 1939 in Orlando East, Soweto) is a South African singer and actress. The multi-talented and award-winning actress is also a songwriter.

Her contributions to the entertainment industry since 1957 is immeasurable. The veteran actress has played significant roles in many films and television series.

She has dropped many songs that are enjoyed by music lovers and has held performances at many local events. Though as an actress, many know her for being the mother of Tau and Tshidi in the series Generations.

But her music career brought her into the limelight. She gained ground for her musical performances, especially in cabaret.


Abigail Kubeka biography
NameAbigail Kubeka
Born19 January 1939 (age 81 years)
Orlando East, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
OccupationSinger, songwriter, actress
Years active1957-date


The veteran singer was born on 19 January 1939 in the first township of Soweto, Orlando East. She hails from a humble background, her mother’s occupation was washing clothes while her father worked in a warehouse.

Abigail developed an interest in singing at a tender age and showed it mainly at school. Now, jazz and other music have begun to gain popularity in the country.

She then capitalized on the opportunity it created to showcase her talent as a singer. She started as an artist and performer, and her talent stood her out and won her the heart of many.


She had her studies at a missionary boarding school in Kilnerton, beside Pretoria.


In 1957, she started her career as a teenager and was invited by Miriam Makeba to be a part of her Skylarks ensemble. At that time, legendary artists like Mary Rabotaba and Letta Mbulu were also among.

Their group’s primarily promoted and evolved the mbaqanga and marabi music styles.

In the sixties, she followed music heavyweights like Abdullah Ibrahim and Kippie Moeketsi to events. Abigail accompanied them in cabaret performances in the nightclubs of Hillbrow.

She held a performance in Jazzmakers, Elite Swingers, and Jazz Dazzlers. As an actress, Kubeka has appeared in many films, on TV, and Stage. She was cast in the film Hijack and The Line.

Her stage credits include Des and Dawn Lindberg’s King Afrika with Henry Cele and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas with Judy Page.

Together with other notable personalities, she performed in Sophiatown, a documentary. She paid tribute to the indigenous jazz music of the fifties.

Kubeka recorded an updated version of the song by Skylarks about 40 years earlier – Yini Madoda. Speaking of her profession as a songwriter, she is the brain behind the writing and arranging of many of her songs.

Abegail contributed the theme song for the sequel to the film What Happened to Mbuyisa?.

She has held performances in many notable events in the country. In 1992, she performed at the debut of the well-known Miss World Pageant.

In 1999, Abegail performed at the opening ceremony of the All Africa Games.

She has also held performances for renowned personalities in and outside the country including Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II.

She sings in Afrikaans and many other languages are spoken in the country.

In 2014, the veteran actress bagged the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 8th annual SAFTA awards.


Kubeka made headlines after a photo of her battered face entered the internet. Reports covered that the Orlando East-born songwriter was assaulted by a taxi driver in Soweto.

The sad incident was caused by an unfortunate incident. She and the taxi driver bumped their cars into each other.

Though she tried to apologize the man responded with a punch in her face. The action left her with black marks and the assault got away.


The renowned actress has won several awards and has been a nominee for many others. The approvement she does for South Africa won her an award called Wamela, on lifetime achievement.

She was a nominee alongside Connie Ferguson, Sihle Ndaba, Leleti Khumalo, and Thuso Mbedu. Other accolades received by Kabeka includes:

  • Winner – Wamela Music Awards (Lifetime Achievement Award 2001)
  • Nominee – Durban Film Festival (Actress In Supporting Role 2014)
  • Winner – SAFTA (Best Actress, The Long Run 2015)
  • Nominee – SAM Awards (Singer of the Year 2017)


Knock-Out (1969)
An Activists 2: Long Walk (2001) Madikizela
Diary of Thandi (1971)Sis’May
Joe Bullet (1973)Beauty
City of Blood (1987)Maureen
Last Year’s Queen (1990)
Cry, the Beloved Country (1995)Mrs. Mkize
The Long Run (2001)Bar Lady
Kasi Movies:Elalini (2010)Anele
The Jakes Are Missing (2015)Grace
An African American (2016)Wajé Seleste
Morning, Mandela (2017)
What’s The Deal (2018) Shantel “Abram’s’

TV Shows

Family BondsSpecial Guest Star
HillsideRefilwe Thibela
Wild at HeartMrs. Fatani
Queen SonoMaZet
Mzansi LoveDaisy
My Perfect FamilyGuest Star
IntersexionsJama’s Mother

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