Angel of death was most vengeful when visiting the showbiz scene
A new year and resolutions are on the cards – but 2020 will miss some of the greatest people who have graced the Earth – people who shaped our lives.
While most were hip when most of us were tiny tots, other stars hardly made it to 30.
• Just as Mzansi was overcoming the death of hip-hop pioneer HHP in October last year, the death of Oliver Mtukudzi hit hard at the end of January.
The Jazz musician, who died from diabetes, had released his 67th album, titled Hanva’Ga (Concern), just a year before – when one of his best friends Hugh Masekela also died.
The Zimbabwean musician was 66 at the time of his death – but more than just a musician, the Svoyi Yangu (My Love) hitmaker was also a philanthropist, human rights activist and Unicef goodwill ambassador.
• Jazz legend Dorothy Masuka, also from Zimbabwe, died in February at the age of 83. She grew up in South Africa and was already a top recording artist at the age of 16, in the 1950s. What made her special was her great composing of songs inspired by apartheid SA of the
Her radical and spirited music resulted in her being exiled for many years. Two of her songs, Dr Malan and Lumumba infuriated the South African Special Branch, who destroyed the master tapes, leaving no traces of these gems.
• A day before the celebration of love, funnyman Sibusiso “Ankel” Shangase died at only 30 years old. It’s believed that the Durban comedian had been suffering from illhealth for a long time. Having had cameo appearances on Uzalo, he was loved for his larger-than- life personality.
• Sibusiso Khwinana was just about to become a big star as a result of his lead role in the Kagiso Lediga film, Matwetwe. The film had just made its debut in February, and Khwinana was robbed of his fame on March 1, at the age of 25.
He was violently stabbed in Pretoria, for a cellphone, by one of three men, who was arrested shortly after.
• House music vocalist Nichume Siwundla committed suicide in early June. The 27-year-old reportedly jumped off a building in Johannesburg due to financial diffculties and other mental health-related problems.
The qualified ophthalmologist featured on the popular Mobi Dixon track, Bhutiza and Daydreaming by Fistaz Mixwell
• July was when the angel of death was most vengeful. Veteran actress Nomhle Nkonyeni, who had just been honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga Silver award by President Cyril Ramaphosa, died on July 10.
She was 77. Before television, she was the first black woman to set foot on stage during apartheid-era SA, in the Afrikaans production Die Swerfiare van Poppie Nongena. She was well-known for her roles on Mzansi, Tsha Tsha, Society and the 2004 feature film Red Dust.
• Cultural activist David Koloane, who was an artist and writer, died on July 2. From Alexandra township, the 81-year-old was an acclaimed
painter whose work featured globally. He co-founded the first black art gallery.
• Former Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs striker Marc Batchelor was fatally shot while in his BMW SUV outside his northern Johannesburg home on July 15. He won four major trophies with Orlando Pirates.
• Johnny Clegg, the White Zulu whose sound was a unique fusion of African and Western culture, died on July 16. He had suffered a long battle with cancer. He was 66.
He established two inter-racial groups, Juluka and Savuka, enduring constant harassment during apartheid. His song Asimbonanga (We haven’t seen him) was written for Nelson Mandela.
• Idols SA runner-up Thami Shobede died in September.
• Rugby great Chester Williams died from a sudden heart attack after returning from the gym in September. He was part of the Springboks’ 1995 Rugby World Cup-winning squad and named the SA Rugby Player of the Year in 1994.
Williams’s Springbok wing partner, James Small also died at the age of 50 from a heart attack two months before Williams.
• Muvhango star Matamela Ramabulana, who played Vho-Nenzhelele, died on September 15. He was 68.
• The ¤t and talented Isibaya actor, Andile Gumbi, died on October 25 after suffering a heart attack.
• Gospel star Neyi Zimu died from a blood disorder, mycosis fungoides, affecting his skin. He was laid to rest two weeks ago.
By Somaya Stockenstroom