Celebrities 19.3.2017 01:11 pm

Joe Mafela tributes continue to pour in

The death of the beloved entertainer in a car crash on Saturday night has continued to prompt great reaction from the nation.

President Jacob Zuma on Sunday expressed sadness and extended heartfelt condolences on the death of Joe “Sdumo” Mafela, 75.

“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. Mr Mafela, also affectionately known as Sdumo, was also a television producer and songwriter. The arts and culture industry has been robbed of a bigger than life figure. We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to [the] Mafela family and may his soul rest in peace,” Zuma said.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said: “We are shocked and saddened by the passing of a great artist and a truly generous man Baba Joe Mafela. The nation has lost an extraordinary son of the soil. He was multi-talented and multi-skilled, much loved and much revered. We salute his lifelong contribution to South African arts and culture. We convey our strength and heartfelt condolences to the Mafela family, to his friends, and numerous fans.

“Joe Mafela is a household name to all of us as he spent decades on the big and small screens acting out a countless number of roles which showed his versatility as an actor. His role as the character S’dumo in ‘Sgudi Snaysi’ remains in the consciousness and cultural imagination of the nation as a whole. But he was also a producer, a director, an advertising director, and a musician whose hit songs including ‘Shebeleza’ came to dominate the air waves,” Mthethwa said.

Born in Sibasa, Limpopo, and raised in Kliptown and Tshiawelo in Soweto, Johannesburg, he began his career in 1965 when he had his acting debut in the film “Real News” where he played an editor. In 1974 he starred in South Africa’s first black feature film “Udeliwe” which gained him a new following among moviegoers.

During the 1980s his television career blossomed with “Sgudi Snaysi”. He also became a creative director in the advertising industry and also focused on producing. He became a co-owner of Penguin Films. He began releasing highly successful musical albums. He won numerous awards including a Loerie award for his advertising work and best actor in comedy at the South African Film and Television Awards (Safta). He also received an Emmy nomination. In recent times he acted on “Generations: the Legacy”.

African National Congress spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the ANC had learnt with sadness of Mafela’s death. “Joe Mafela was an international acclaimed songwriter. His title track ‘Shebeleza’ was used as a theme song for the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations in which South Africa were crowned champions. He has been a pioneer and veteran in the entertainment industry, having received numerous awards including, but not limited to, the best actor in comedy at the South African film and television awards.

“As we mourn his passing, the African National Congress sends its sincere condolences to the Mafela family. We also extend our heartfelt sympathies to his colleagues in the industry and all South Africans at large. May his soul rest in peace,” Kodwa said.

National Freedom Party leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi said she had learnt with shock of Mafela’s death.

“Mafela was a veteran of the craft and the greatest comedian ever produced. I grew up watching him in the early ’90s and I never missed a chance to watch him perform on small television,” she said.

“He is the one who instilled in me and my family love for acting. But one thing Mafela taught me as I grew up was that no matter how famous you must remain grounded.

“He was such a bubbly soul and the ever charismatic character. He lived and dedicated his life into entertaining us and making us laugh when things were tough.

“I hope our young actors have learnt something or two from him. On behalf of the National Freedom Party, the country, and the continent, I send my deepest condolences to his family and the entire acting community. We have lost the greatest. May his soul rest in peace,” said KaMagwaza-Msibi.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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