Zinhle Mabena Biography: What to Know About the House of Zwide Actress

Zinhle Mabena, also known as Zinhle Ngwenya, is a 32 years old South African actress who became famous for playing Sihle in the Mzansi Magic drama series, Isibaya.

The actress started off her acting career playing Bongani’s daughter, Busi Thwala, in the SABC1 drama series, Mtunzini.com, which aired from 2006 to 2009. She also played the role of Zindzi Mandela in the biopic Winnie Mandela.

Summary of Zinhle Mabena’s Bio 

  • Full name: Zinhle Ngwenya
  • Nickname: Zinhle Mabena
  • Gender: Female
  • Date of birth: 8 June 1991
  • Zinhle Mabena’s Age: 32 years
  • Zinhle Mabena’s Ethnicity: Ndebele/Zulu
  • Nationality: South African
  • Zodiac Sign: Gemini
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Marital Status: Divorced
  • Zinhle Mabena’s Ex-Husband: Robert Ngwenya
  • Zinhle Mabena’s Children:
  • Zinhle Mabena’s Net Worth: $1.5 million
  • Famous for: Actress, Philanthropist
  • Zinhle Mabena’s Instagram: @ms_zinhlemabena
  • Twitter: @MsZinhleMabena

Zinhle Mabena’s Parents

Zinhle Mabena was born on 8 June 1991 to a Ndebele father and a Zulu mother. The names of her parents are not known and nothing much is known about them and what they did for a living.

However, according to sources, the actress who is the youngest of her parents’ children has two older two siblings (names unknown) who were raised singlehandedly by their mother after the death of their father at quite an early stage.

After their father’s death, their mother had to take odd jobs to provide for her children.  Zinhle had her primary and high school in her place of birth, Gauteng South Africa. After high school, she was admitted to the University of Johannesburg for further studies.

Zinhle Mabena Started Acting When She Was 16 Years Old

Many have wondered how the actress has been able to reach this height in her career at age 32, truth be told, she started off quite early. Although there is no available information on how she landed her first role, the beautiful actress debuted her acting career starring as Bucie Twala in the Mthunzini series that aired for three years (2006-09).

Viewers immediately fell in love with her onscreen personality after delivering such an outstanding performance. In 2011, she played the role of Zindzi Mandela in the biopic Winnie Mandela. In 2012, she appeared in the e.tv anthology series eKasi in an episode entitled “My Brother’s Plan”.

In 2013, she also landed a role in the television miniseries Remix playing Lindi. The series aired on Mzansi Magic.

She Rose to Fame After Playing Sihle in Isibaya

Her role as Sihle in the Mzansi Magic drama series, Isibaya, became a game-changer for the young actress. The role saw her metamorphosed into a household name. Sihle was that villainous character who had to cut short her university studies to return to the Thukela Valley after the mysterious death of her father. She lied, conspired, and schemed against others just for her selfish gain.

To say Zinhle nailed that character is an understatement, it was so perfectly played that it kept viewers glued to their seats each and every episode until the telenovela was discontinued in 2021. Ngwenya was so convincing in the role that most viewers assumed she would be evil in real life.

The character has also gained popularity that many address her as – Sihle from Isibaya.

Zinhle Took a Break But Later Returned to Play Ntombi on the eTV Show House of Zwide

After Isibaya was canceled in 2021, the gorgeous actress took some time off-screen to focus on herself and deal with personal problems. After taking a year off from acting, Zinhle Mabena is back on TV and has nothing else going on, so she can solely focus on her vocation, which is acting.

Mabena, who has acted in several soapies, returns to e-tv’s House of Zwide to portray the character of Ntombi. As opposed to her role as a villain in Isibaya, her character on the new show is totally different and will be one of a good girl.

Speaking to Drum about her role as Ntombi, Zinhle revealed that the character of Ntombi is nice. She is calm, chilled, and levelheaded unlike the character of Sihle in Isibaya who revolved from being a sweet village girl to being the villain.

House of Zwide tells the story of Ona, a young woman who went on an internship at Zwide House to fulfill her dreams, unknown to her that the deep secrets of her past are buried in the company.

The Actress Has No Industry Award & Nomination Yet

Despite the strong competition in the entertainment industry, Zinhle has established herself, expanded her fan base, and made a name for herself, having people look up to her and try to emulate her even at such a tender age.

However, Zinhle has neither been nominated for an award nor won any industry awards yet despite her outstanding performances and delivery of roles. She is not relenting in her hard work and is certain that the recognition for her outstanding performances will start dropping in pretty soon.

Zinhle Mabena's Filmography
  • 2006–2009 – Mthunzini (as Bucie Thwala)
  • 2011 – Winnie Mandela (as Zindzi)
  • 2014–2021 – iSiBaya! (as Sihle)
  • 2022–Present – House of Zwide (as Ntombi)

Who is Zinhle Mabena’s Husband?

Zinhle Mabena is currently divorced. She was married to Robert Ngwenya, a North West businessman, author, politician, and philanthropist. According to reports, Robert had such a humble beginning; he reportedly started off on the streets selling toothbrushes at traffic lights before luck smiled on him.

He is currently the founder of a security firm called TSM and a founding shareholder in Nomacala Holding. Robert is also a Ward 5 ANC leader in the Madibeng Sub Region in North West. In 2016, he was appointed North West provincial chairman of the Villages, Townships, and Small Dorpies Chamber of Commerce, a position which he still holds.

There is no info about how the couple met and under what circumstances, however, reports have it that before exchanging married vows in 2017, the pair dated for half a year. The wedding location and other details about the event were kept hidden by the couple.

Fans only woke up to see a sparkling wedding ring with her and a baby which she shared on her Instagram profile after only a few months of marriage. The couple had two children, together; a boy and a girl.

Robert Ngwenya already had three children from a previous marriage. As a result, she was also a stepmother to those children for the time they were married. Barely 4 years later, the marriage hit the rocks.

Why Robert Ngwenya and Zinhle Mabena DIvorced

The late 2010s were very challenging for Zinhle as her marriage made headlines almost every week. On 28 January 2021, it was reported that the couple had called their marriage quits.

Although no reason was given before the sudden separation barely 4 fours after they tied the knot, so much speculation began spreading on the reason for the divorce. Among them was the report that the Isibaya actress stopped her husband from seeing their daughter, among many other claims.

Both Robert and Zinhle reportedly removed the picture of each other on their social media. Robert further removed the ring from his finger and took to social media to state that his marriage with the actress was one that began with butterfly feelings in the stomach and slowly progressed into ugly fights and inevitable separation.

He also announced that he will be releasing a book that will detail his marital experience. According to an Instagram post, Robert revealed that the said memoir is titled “5 Years in Marriage: A Chronicle of Love, Marriage, and Divorce.

The book will be x-raying his personal analysis of marriage based on experience and also the lessons that life has so carefully and slowly taught him. Reports had it that part of the reason the actress took one year off-screen was to finalize her divorce with Robert.

Speaking with Drum, the actress revealed that the last couple of years had not been easy for her so she had to take some time off to take better care of herself, her mental health, and physical wellbeing. She added that all the drama in the headlines has really made her a stronger person and that she is back stronger, wiser, a lot happier, more confident, and very optimistic.

Zinhle Mabena was Arrested For Allegedly Plotting To Murder Robert Ngwenya

In February 2021, the actress was arrested for allegedly plotting to kill her ex-husband Robert Ngwenya; this was just before the divorce between the two was finalized. Ngwenya was allegedly ambushed while traveling alongside his bodyguards sometime in January 2021. According to reports, one of his bodyguards was wounded in the incident and later died in hospital the next day.

An intensive investigation was carried out and the police were said to have found evidence that linked Zinhle to the attempted murder. Thus, she was arrested at her apartment in Centurion. She was later brought before the Pretoria Magistrate Court in Tshwane where she was acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence.

Zinhle Mabena’s Other Ventures

When Zinhle is not acting, she is either managing her business or in a philanthropy project. Yes! She is a businessperson and a philanthropist. The actress advocates seriously against child abuse and women abuse, and to push the advocacy further, she together with her ex-husband co-started an NGO called MZ Ngwenya Foundation.

The NGO helps people struggling with drug abuse and women who were abused. While still together, the couple Robert also founded a rehabilitation center he named Nomaqala Home of Hope in Brits, North West, which he named after Zinhle’s mum. In her interview with Drum, the actress stated that she is also looking forward to working behind the scenes as a director and producer and will announce it all in due time.

In regard to her business endeavors, it is unclear what her business interests are. The actress is said to have a flair for business and is quite into a number of them.


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