Everybody dies, but it is important to remember that the dead live in our memories. Last year, the South African entertainment industry lost a significant number of stars. Below is a list of South African celebrities who died in 2017 and 2018.
Death leaves wounds that could last a lifetime, more so if the person was close to you. Unfortunately, at some point, we all go through the same path. So, rather than mourn forever, we can choose to celebrate the lives of those who have gone before us.
Celebrities who died in 2017
Last year, several stars across the world passed away. Some of the notable names include Della Reese (actor, Touched by an Angel), Hugh Hefner (founder of Playboy magazine) and David Rockefeller (Rockefeller family). Here in South Africa, we lost musicians, actors, TV hosts, entrepreneurs among others.
South African actors and actresses who died in 2017
The film industry lost some top talents and legends in 2017. Below are some of the Mzansi actors who died in 2017.
Joe was a South African actor whose career began at the age of 22. He was also a musician, producer, and movie writer. He had roles in several South African television series, soaps, and movies. His breakthrough came from his role as Sdumo in the comedy series ‘Sgudi ‘Snaysi which was in Zulu. He went on to produce television programs under his production company Penguin Films and sometimes cast himself for roles in them. The veteran South African actor passed away after a car accident on the 18th of March. The Joe Mafela accident scene was on M1 North next to a construction zone.
Famous for his role as Gunman in the SABC1 drama series Yizo Yizo, Jabu Kubheka was a South African actor who starred in various television programs. The actor had roles in many televisions series including the SABC 1 drama Zone 14, A Place Called Home, Jacobs Cross, and Skhumba. He also had featured in various soaps including Generations, Zabalaza and Gold Diggers. Jabu was found dead in his home in June 2017.
Mandla was a South African actor known for his role as Siphiwe Phosa in the hit TV series Generations. The actor’s breakthrough came after his starring role in SABC’s Soul City 2. He was also a DJ going by the name DJ Mandla, and he released his first album in 2006 known as Jozi Nights Volume 1. Mandla was fatally shot in May 2017, during a robbery outside Meli pub in Soweto as reported by BBC on the 15th May.
Iko was a South African stylist, makeup artist, and actor who died after a long battle with cancer on the 21st of July, 2017. He was well known in celebrity circles for his styling prowess, and he played a transgender make up artist on television series Rhythm city.
7de Laan actor dies
Greg Melvill-Smith, famous for his role in 7de Laan, as well as in Isidingo, died in 2016. Therefore, he was not in Isidingo June 2017. He died in the hospital while battling a serious illness. He is not the only 7de Laan cast member who has died as two others passed away recently. Shareen Swart, a producer and actress on the show died on October 29, 2018 after a long battle with cancer.
Below is a list of South African actresses who died in 2017
Michelle was a former beauty queen who went on to be a television show host and actress. She hosted the magazine show Mamepe on SABC 2 and acted in various television productions including In the name of love, Kgalelo Pelo and Generations; Legacy. Michelle succumbed to cervical cancer at the National Hospital in Bloemfontein. She died on the 19th December 2017 surrounded by friends and family.
Mary was a veteran actress who was best known for her roles in Generations, Yizo Yizo, and most recently Ekasi: Our Stories. She died after developing complications from injuries resulting from a fall.
Other South African celebrities who died in 2017
Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri
Raymond, popularly known as Ray Phiri, was a South African jazz and fusion artist famous for his role in Graceland. The musician died on the 12th July, 2017, aged 70 after a two-month battle with lung cancer.
Lindani was a popular South African Radio personality. He started his career at Weneme FM as an intern in 1995 where he gained respect and admiration from people. He later worked at SABC radio before resigning to become the Mercantile Hospital spokesperson in 2004. He rejoined Weneme FM in 2006 and continued where he left off. The Lindani Bekwa death announcement brought sorrow to his fans and South Africa in general. His friends eulogized him as a dreamer who worked hard to make his dreams come true and who loved what he did. The radio host died in March 2017 after a long illness which kept him in and out of the hospital.
Popular gospel singer Matlakala Ramathoka died aged 43 in March 2017 after complaining of flu and chest pains. The singer was part of the Matlakala and the Comforters and the Musole Tumelo groups. She is famous for songs such as Dintwa Ditekising, Kgalemela Lefatshe, and Madi Matsogong. The singer had just completed recording her album Emanuel at the time of her death. Matlakala dead or alive will forever remain a memorable part of the South African gospel industry.
The legendary jazz musician Thandi Klaasen died on the 15th of January, 2017. Media outlets report that she was battling pancreatic cancer which is believed to be the cause of her death.
The Rhythm City actor was shot dead after a hijacking in Tembisa. He was rushed to hospital but died while undergoing surgery. The 29-year-old actor had recently got married. His wife was devastated by his death as their marriage had only lasted a few months according to family spokesperson Mpumi Phillips.
South African celebrities who died recently
Although the year 2018 is not yet over, South Africa has already suffered significant losses. Celebrity deaths today are on the rise due to the increasing number of diseases and the cancer menace. Here is a list of celebrities recently deceased.
Mama Winnie’s death came as a shock to many as she had been pictured earlier at her granddaughter’s Good Friday celebration. Veteran anti-apartheid activist passed away on April 2, 2018, after a battle with an illness. Winnie inspired a generation of African women, many of whom honored her by wearing black and using the hashtag AllBlackWothADoek.
Actor Sandy Mokwena, who is known for playing Bra Eddie on eTVs Scandal, passed away on on Wednesday the 25th of January, 2018 due to natural causes. The actor also had roles in several television productions. His death shocked his family as it came after a short illness. On that day, it was reported that the South African actor died aged 68.
The death of Hugh Masekela gave a huge blow to the South African jazz industry. Famously known as the father of South African Jazz, Hugh was a trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, singer, and composer. He is famous for hit songs such as Soweto Blues and Bring Him Back Home. The musician died due to prostate cancer on the 23rd of January, 2018.
The radio personality succumbed to cancer on the 11th of February, 2018 just six months before his 40th birthday. Kabelo Mosito, the family spokesman, told Tshisa Live that the actor continued to smile despite his battle.
Generations actor dies aged 85 was the breaking news on the 1st day of February this year. David was a veteran actor best known for his role as Paul Moroka on popular soap, Generations. Eugene Phetoe, his son, said in an interview that the actor had been ill and was in the hospital when he died on the afternoon of the 1st of February, 2018.
Popularly known by his hip-hop name, Hip Hop Pantasula, HHP died on October 24th, 2018. The rapper was found dead in his Johannesburg home earlier in the day. His friend and rapper Khuli Chana said that HHP’s death came as a shock to his friends and family. It was an unbelievable sadness.