Joe Mafela died on Saturday night, 18 March 2017, in a car accident when a ‘bakkie’ hit his car on the M1 North highway in Johannesburg not far from his home.
Mr. Mafela’s career in acting started in 1964 at the age 22 when he appeared in the feature movie ‘Red News’ by Peter Hunt who is best known for having directed the James Bond movie ‘From Russia with love’. In this film he played the character of an editor. A movie ‘Red News’ was followed by ‘Shout at the devil’.
In 1974 he co-starred in South Africa’s first black feature film ‘Udeliwe’ with Cynthia Shange who now plays Mam Buthelezi on a local soap ‘Muvhango’. He was alsofeatured on another IsiZulu movie ‘Inyakanyaka’ with the late Ndaba Mhlongo as a lead actor.
His popularity grew stronger in the 80’s when he played a character by the name of ‘Sdumo’ in a sitcom called ‘Sgudi, Snaysi’ (“Is good, is nice”). He was South Africa’s “Bill Cosby”.
His acting was seen on other comedy shows such as: Khululeka, Going Up as well as Madam and Eve. He had a hand in the production of a number of television material including advert about Chicken licken.
At the time of his death Bra Joe was playing the role of Tebogo on a local soap, Generation: The legacy. Besides acting, in 1996 he released the album Shebeleza fela, with the track “Shebeleza”’ he had other songs like “Thoko”, “Phalafala” and “Pule”. His music was loved and enjoyed by many. He was a real multi-talent personality.
He has received numerous awards that included a Lifetime Management Theatre Achievement Award, Duku Duku Awards and scooped the best comedic actor award at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA).
Those who knew him, worked and interacted with him all spoke with one voice that he was a humble man who respected everybody.
His smile will be missed...