24 March 2017

Joe Mafela’s death is not “good and nice”

Veteran actor Joe "Sdumo" Mafela has been described as a humble and generous person by his family and those who were close to him.

The Joburg Theatre was packed to capacity on Thursday where friends, colleagues, government personalities, musicians and the fans gathered to pay their last respect at the memorial service of the legendary actor. The service was led by a friend of Mafela and actor, Mabutho "Kid" Sithole who kept the audience entertained by his humorous remarks, letting people know what kind of a person Sdumo was.

Mafela's son Jimmy said his father believed in the talent South Africa has and worked hard in assisting others to reach their full potential. He also spoke of his father's love for music.

Some family members and his friends described him as a "simple person who enjoyed simple things in life" and also a person who used to "relate to everyone from the children to the elders, he had people's skills".

The veterans in the industry such as Abigail Kubheka, Dorothy Masuku, Welcome Msomi, Don Mattera and many more were called on stage to pay their respect to their friend and they did justice!

Don Mattera recited a beautiful poem he wrote for Mafela saying his "death is not good and it is not nice" which is a title for Mafela's most popular TV show "Sgudi Snaysi". Mattera also spoke about black people shining when realising who they are, "Our blackness blooms and becomes our beauty".

Speaking to BET Africa before the service Cynthia Shange who acted with Mafela on the first all black cast in SA, "Deliwe", spoke fondly of him saying Mafela became her friend and mentor. "I worked with Joe way back in 1974 when we did "Deliwe" together. It was a first time I got to know Joe Mafela. He was an amazing soul, he was down to earth and he taught me a lot. He taught me about life and to be humble, to respect young and old." "When I heard of the news of his passing I couldn't believe it, I screamed. I couldn't even go to his house that day, I slept the whole day. Then I remembered what he used to say to me when we would hear that someone has died he used to say 'My dear we are all in a queue it's just that we don't know whether we are in front, middle or back'. It means it was his time to leave us but he left a huge gap and no one will fill his shoes, there is no one like him," a tearful Cynthia told BET Africa.

Mafela had been in the entertainment industry for over 40 years. He died at the age of 75 on Saturday night (18 March 2017) in a car accident. He left behind his wife, three sons, a daughter and six grandchildren. Due to a number of people who could not attend the service, there will be another memorial service on Monday (27 march 2017) and he will be laid to rest on the first weekend of April.

Thulile Gama