JOE Mafela, (75) the legendary South African actor, songwriter and film producer died in a car accident on Saturday night in Johannesburg.
A police spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said Mafela’s Ford Figo collided with another car at around 10pm on the M1 North between the Oxford and Houghton Road off-ramps in Johannesburg.
Mafela’s publicity, Gaaratwe Mokhethi told the press that the popular entertainer‚ who was on his way home from Soweto, was declared dead by paramedics on the scene.
“He has passed away. It was a car accident and he was on his way home from Soweto. But the family will make more details available at a later stage, but the he was in a car accident,” Mokhethi said.
South Africa’s Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa is among thousands of people who have paid tribute to Mafela on social media, such as Twitter and Face Book.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn about the news of the passing of legendary Actor, Director & Musician ubaba Joe Mafela,” Mthethwa wrote on Twitter. “We extend our condolences to the family, friends, and fans of ubaba Joe Mafela, the nation has lost a crown jewel of our arts & culture.”
Mafela made his acting debut in 1964, when he starred in the feature film “Real News” directed by Peter Hunt. He co-starred with Cynthia Shange in “Udeliwe” the first black feature film made in South Africa in 1974.
However, in later years Mafela’s acting career and popularity was enhanced by his portrayal of the character, Sdumo, in the Zulu sitcom “Sgudi ‘Snaysi”( “it is good”¦ it is nice”).
Mafela released his debut music album titled Shebeleza Felas with Gallo Records In 1996, Gallo Records. The popular hit “Shebeleza (Okongo Mame)” became such a huge success, that “Shebeleza” was picked as the theme song during the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996.
He was fondly referred to as “the face of South African entertainment”, and as “South Africa’s Bill Cosby.”
Mafela’s latest acting work was as Tebogo Moroka in Generations The Legacy.