Hlengiwe Ntombela Mthethwa (born 12 April 1993), better known as HLE, is a South African gospel singer and songwriter. She is best known as a choir member of the sensational gospel group, Joyous Celebration. She is also known for her chart-topping songs, You Are Life as well as Dwala and You Are of which are from her highly anticipated debut album, YOUR KINGDOM ON EARTH.
Ntombela was born in a small town called Kwaggafontein South Africa. When her family then moved to Newcastle, she described growing up as a time where she always made it a point to slot in a musical section in any game they played.
At the age of 8, Hlengiwe was asked by her father to join her sister on stage, to minister the song ‘I found the answer’ by Tramaine Hawkins and Mahalia Jackson – which is where her, at the time, ‘undiscovered’ journey in music began.
From being coached at church by her father, who is the senior pastor at Potters Family Church in Newcastle, to performing at the schools she was enrolled in and becoming a musical director from the age of 15, Hlengiwe found herself at an event in Durban. This was where she met Mr Lindelani Mkhize, who after several conversations with her suggested that she join Joyous Celebration. Frightened, she declined, stating that she was too young and inexperienced and Mr Mkhize, like a father, let her be and was patient.
After High school, she pursued her aspired career choice, which was interior designing at Style Design College in Durban. During her first year, former Joyous Celebration bassist Bheka Mthethwa, the only person she knew in Durban, took Hlengiwe to Oasis Church led by Pastor Themba Mthethwa in Umlazi, where he fellowshiped at the time. That is where she met SA Idols Season 8 winner and recording artist, Khaya Mthethwa.
She then joined their worship team and in 2011, which was her second year of study, she was a part of the church’s fundraising concert Ziyawa Izindonga, where she caught the attention of Ntokozo Mbambo and her husband Nqubeko Mbatha, who had also been invited to perform as well. Hlengiwe was then asked by the couple to join the recording of Ntokozo’s album, Filled, and has since been on every show and recording they’ve done.
In 2012, with the absence of Khaya Mthethwa who was participating in SA Idols, Hlengiwe was appointed as musical director at his father’s church. During the same year, she was also requested by Mr Mkhize of Joyous Celebration to do the tribute to Khaya during their JC16 tour in Durban-this was when Hlengiwe decided to join the group- 6 years after the initial invitation from Mr Mkhize.
It was the first time she had ever heard of someone being called into music and this time – she had a first-hand experience. Whilst she was doing her last year in design, due to the press of the calling over her life, she couldn’t finish and had to pursue a qualification related to music at UKZN Howard College.
Following that, she found herself being requested by Israel Houghton to assist in his African tours. She has also worked with Judith Sephuma who requested her to be a part of her gospel album.