Remembering Joe Mafela

Nonhle Sithole

Joe Mafela was born in Limpopo province in 1942 and brought up in Kliptown and White City Jabavu, in Soweto, near Johannesburg. He had a fulfilling career in film, television and stage, a journey which began at the age of 22; playing the role of an editor in the movie “Real News”.  He was known to his numerous fans as “Sdumo” which was a character he portrayed in a sitcom “Sgudi ‘Snaysi”

Joe Mafela was found dead after a car accident last weekend. The accident was reported at 21:45 on Saturday between Oxford Road and Houghton on the M1 highway. along a passage of road where construction is underway. “The injuries were not visible… it looks like it could have been a medical condition”, said Johannesburg Metro Police spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane”. “Mr Mafela was driving a Ford Figo…he collided into the back of a bakkie on his left hand side.”  When paramedics arrived at the scene Mafela had passed on.

Joe Mafela’s memorial service was held at the Mandela Theatre in Newtown with hundreds of fans, family members and friends gathered to pay their last respects to the ‘Good, Is Nice’ actor.

Here are some highlights of his career

  • He was best known for having direct bond movies, “from Russia with love”. In this film Mafela played as an editor.
  • He was considered a pioneer and veteran in the entertainment industry.
  • The track shebeleza was used as a theme song during the Africa Cup of Nation.
  • During the 1980s his television career took off Joe Mafela starred in Zulu language Sitcom “Sgudi ‘Snaysi” which he portrayed the character of Sdumo.
  • In 1996, Joe Mafela released his first music album with the record company, Gallo Record’s based in Johannesburg.
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Joe Mafela was successful in the entertainment industry for forty years and yet was known for retaining humility about his achievements. His life will continue to be an inspiration to many in South Africa.


Image Courtesy: Afternoon Express

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