22 March 2017

SA mourns the death of Joe Mafela

South Africa is shattered after hearing the news of the passing of legendary actor and comedian Joe Mafela.

Mafela, who was popularly known by his "Sgudi Snaysi" character name Sdumo, died in a car accident on Saturday night while driving along N1 in Johannesburg. The police statement said he did not experience any visual injuries during the accident and said the cause of his death might be medical related.

Mafela's acting career started with feature films in the 1960s when he was in his early 20s. He made his acting debut in 1964, when he appeared in the feature movie "Real News".

Even though Mafela had been acting since the 60s and even landing a role in a first black feature film called "Deliwe" in 1974, he stole the hearts of the nation when he appeared in an IsiZulu sitcom, "Sgudi Snaysi". The sitcom first aired in 1986 and run until 1993.

Mafela was the epitome of a jack of all trades, he was not only an actor he was a singer, songwriter and film producer. In 1996 he released his first album titled Shebeleza and it became a huge success. He has since released three more albums in his musical career.

In his career, Mafela was honoured with many awards including a Golden Horn Lifetime Achievement Award; he received it in 2010 at the South African Film Television Awards (SAFTAs).

His last acting work was as Tebogo Moroka in "Generations The Legacy".
Tributes have been pouring in since the news of his passing, from the President of country, government, his colleagues in the industry and the nation at large.

"We have learned with sadness of the passing of one of the pioneers of the television comedy loved by all South Africans young and old. The arts and culture industry has been robbed of a bigger than life figure. We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to Mafela Family and May his soul rest in peace," said President Jacob Zuma.

Thulile Gama