One of South Africa's most loved actors, Joe Mafela passed on last night following a car accident.The  accident  happened about 10pm last ni

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One of South Africa’s most loved actors, Joe Mafela passed on last night following a car accident.

The  accident  happened about 10pm last night on the M1 north between Oxford and Houghton offramps between a Ford Figo and a bakkie which took place in construction zone. The Bakkie hit the Ford which caused damage to the left hand side of the Ford Figo driven by Mr Joe Mafela. Mr Mafela was declared fatal by paramedics on the scene.

Joe Mafela, actor, songwriter and film producer was born in 1942 in Sibasa, Limpopo Province. His father worked as a shop assistant in a Chinese shop in Sophiatown. When Joe was three years old he left Johannesburg along with his mother, who was expecting her second child. They returned to Limpopo where his brother was also born. Mafela’s family moved to Kliptown, south of Johannesburg in 1947. The family remained in Kliptown for five years.

In 1952 they moved to White City Jabavu, a township that was conceived as temporary shelters for many families removed from one of the squatter settlement that sprang up in Soweto in the 1940s.

Mafela’s family remained in White City for another five years before moving to Tshiawelo Township. This move was consistent with the expectations of local authorities at the time. Tshiawelo was set aside for Africans considered to have originally come from the Limpopo Province. These included the Venda (Mafela is a Venda), the Tsonga and to a lesser extent, the Balobedu. Mafela’s family was resident in Tshiawelo until 1990.
He has had an illustrious career in film, television and stage. Mafela made his acting debut in 1964, when he appeared in the feature movie “Real News” directed by Peter Hunt. In this film he played the character of an Editor. He was only 22 years old when he started doing films. This was the beginning of a career that would span forty years, making him one of the most celebrated personalities in the Entertainment Industry.

In 1986 he was cast as the unemployed lodger S’dumo in the Zulu language comedy series ‘Sgudi ‘Snaysi. The success of ‘Sgudi ‘Snaysi (“Is Good, Is Nice”) which ran to 78 episodes on SABC led to roles in other series, often produced by Mafela’s own production company Penguin Films. It also encouraged Mafela to enter the advertising industry, working as Creative Director of Black Communications at BBDO South Africa and, since 1992, as a director of Sharrer Advertising in Johannesburg.

In 1996 Joe Mafela released his first music album with the record company, Gallo Records based in Johannesburg. The album, named Shebeleza,-became a huge success. The title track, Shebeleza, was used as a theme song during the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996. He has since released three more albums in his musical career. His lyrics are a combination of South Africa’s official languages and local lingua franca. In the New millennium he was considered a pioneer and veteran in the Entertainment Industry.

In 2005 Joe Mafela received a lifetime management theatre achievement award. This was followed by numerous awards that include the Duku duku award sponsored by a local Magazine Television show. Mafela also scooped the best actor in comedy award at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA).  

Although Mr Mafela made his mark in this planet he would solemnly be missed by his fans, and may his soul rest in peace.


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