Joe Mafela was one in a million – MEC

Joe Mafela with Xolile Tshabalala.

THE KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission is mourning the tragic passing of Joe Mafela, one of the dozens of South Africa’s film and television fraternity. Mafela died in a car accident on Saturday.

Mafela, famously-known for his role as S’dumo in the sitcom series S’gudi S’naysi, was one of South Africa’s foremost thespians. He was part of a crop of actors who worked during the difficult days of apartheid but was able to make a seamless transition and achieve crossover appeal in a post-apartheid South Africa.


PIC: Joe Mafela’s accident scene


MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala said Joe Mafela was one in a million.

“He was a peer of the giants of South Africa’s film industry which include the likes of Ndaba Mhlongo, Alfred Nokwe as well as the larger-than-life Simon “Mabhunu” Sabela.

“That is why when we, as the province of KwaZulu-Natal, through the KZN Film Commission, established the Simon Mabhunu Sabela Awards more than half-a-decade ago, Joe Mafela was one of the first recipients. Some of the luminaries of the television and silver screen community who have received a Sabela Award include the late Henry Cele, Daphney Hlomuka, Ken Gampu as well as Somizi Mhlongo,” said Zikalala.



Joe MafeMafela will be remembered for his role in changing perceptions of locally produced content. He made his debut in the television industry as ‘imbungulu’ on ‘Sgudi ‘Snaysi, a production that kept South Africans entertained.

The Chief Executive Officer of KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission Carol Coetzee, the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission Board and the entire team, united in sending their deepest condolences to the Mafela family during their time of mourning.

“It is indeed a sad day for the local film and television industry. Mafela has been a great supporter and advisor of the Simon ‘Mabhunu’ Film and Television Awards since its inception in 2013.

“The Simon ‘Mabhunu’ Film and Television Awards recognises talent within the film and television sector, something Mafela was passionate about,” said Coetzee.



“Our deepest condolences go out to the Mafela family during their time of mourning. We have also lost a man who was both immensely talented but also one of the most successful black actors to have ever graced our screens,” added Zikalala.

The Highway Mail team sends our condolences to the friends and family of the beloved entertainer.


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