Henry Cele

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Henry Cele
Born (1949-01-30)30 January 1949
Durban, South Africa
Died 2 November 2007(2007-11-02) (aged 58)
Durban, South Africa
Occupation Actor, footballer

Henry Cele (Zulu pronunciation: [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[1] in the South African television miniseries Shaka Zulu.


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[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3]

As an actor[edit]

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.[4] Cele was highlighted in the African American Jet Magazine (3 November 1986 issue, page 57) regarding his role in Shaka Zulu–The Mini Series.[5] He appeared in major roles in South African movies and television series programs as well as international films.

Later years and death[edit]

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.[6] He is buried at the Stellawood Cemetery in Durban eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


  • Bush Shrink (1988), Catambilo
  • Blind Justice (1988), Kamisu
  • Rage to Kill (1988), Wally Arn
  • Mercenary Fighters (1988), Jaunde
  • The Last Samurai (1988), General Zohani
  • Shaka Zulu (1986-1989), Shaka - TV mini-series, episodes 1-10
  • In the Name of Blood (1989), Pheto
  • The Tangent Affair (1989), B.J. Rickson
  • Schweitzer (1990), Oganga
  • The Rutanga Tapes (1990), Samaani
  • Killer Instinct (1990), Samaani
  • Curse III: Blood Sacrifice (1990), Mletch
  • Point of Impact (1990), Titus
  • Sweating Bullets (1990), Mosoeu
  • Deal of a Lifetime (1990), Mosoeu
  • Ipi Tombi (1990), Duke
  • The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), Mahina
  • Shaka Zulu: The Last Great Warrior (2001), Shaka Zulu[7]


  • Golden Plumes Award


  1. ^ "King Shaka Zulu" in South African History Online
  2. ^ [1]; [2] Black Cat Brilliant: Images and captions, Drum Social Histories Archive
  3. ^ "Henry "Black Cat" Cele" in South African History Online
  4. ^ "Camera Q&A: Joshua Sinclair on Shaka Zulu and apartheid," Camera in the Sun.
  5. ^ "South African Star". Jet. 3 November 1986. p. 57. Retrieved 12 December 2015. 
  6. ^ Zulu, Mandla; Motsepe, Cecil (5 November 2007). "Henry Cele died 'an angry man'". News24. Retrieved 12 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "Watch Shaka Zulu: The Last Great Warrior (2001)", OVGuide

External links[edit]