“It’s a wrap” – this is one of the most famous phrases we have come to love and appreciate when television and the craft of actors is concerned. These are words that are mostly used behind the scenes to indicate to the stars, crew and cast members that, the story and production is ready for us, the viewers. These are words I would assume every thespian wants to hear after a long period of shooting, lights, camera, action, second takes and taking it from the top.

The year 2020 was definitely one for the books, counterbalanced by the gruesome and hard-hitting reality of Covid-19 – a virus responsible for so many lost lives, talent, leaders, family, friends, relatives and even foes. It was a year that introduced us to the new normal, which brings with it a barrage of deaths, sadness, loss and uncertainty. And it is equally sad to note that 2021 is not any better.

However, what remains fundamentally true is the important role that actors and actresses alike have played through using their craft and talents to keep us entertained on many occasion. We have fallen in love with the characters they play and sometimes find it hard to separate those characters from the actors. We have been moved and touched through their portrayal and interpretation of different story lines. We have even been heartbroken when they, through the lens of our TV screens, have gotten hurt in the story line. We have grown very fond of the magic and talent they have been blessed with which shines through our TV screens.

But what happens when these actors die? Who is then left to tell the stories and make us gather around a TV set every day?

It is with the greatest of appreciation and admiration that we celebrate some of these talented individuals who have sadly answered their last curtain call and are now no more. We celebrate them all for their immense contribution to our lives through TV screens and we thank them all for giving of their gift to us. They have shaped, moved and moulded us ways beyond the physical like the true thespians they were. Their talents and skills have inspired many of us and they leave behind a legacy that the passage of time will never be able to erase.

Who could ever forget the vibrant and energetic Vinolia Mashego fondly known as “V-mash” who graced our TV screens from the early 80s. Her energy, swag and punchlines kept us upbeat and you would never dare miss Jam Alley – a show she hosted for many years. Besides her hosting skills, she appeared in numerous Sepedi SABC TV dramas and showbiz was undoubtedly her comfort zone. Her tagline still lingers in the hearts of many to this very moment and will live on for years to come: “Iyo Bangani Iyooo”. New school stars such as Bonang Matheba has been quoted saying that they were inspired by V-Mash to get into the entertainment industry and to work hard because a clear path was paved for them by the best in the game.

Think of a powerful and talented matriarch, add a bit of humour and noticeable aura and you could possibly get the gist of the award-winning actress that was Lindiwe Ndlovu. She was dubbed as one of the most incredible performers this country has ever seen, whose contribution to the arts shall always be remembered. Lindiwe was a permanent fixture on our TV screens and a talent to truly savour, through her chilling performances on prime time shows such as Uzalo, eHostela, Lockdown, Ifalami and many others. She was absolutely incredible and portrayed roles with finesse and conviction. Death be not proud!

Mary Thwala was unquestionably one of the best actresses this country has ever had, born almost 8 decades ago. Mary’s career and presence in television inspired her own son and household name Somizi Mhlongo to aspire to greatness and do so in the entertainment industry. Mary has been described as professional and hardworking and no one has denied her natural talent and flare for storytelling. She passed away at the ripe age of 80, leaving behind a life time of achievements, accolades and a legacy that will live on for generations to come. Her performances in screenplays such as Life, Above All, Beat the Dream, Sarafina and many others are telling of the amazing actress she was.

Many lives whose names have not been mentioned here have been claimed by death in the previous year and the current and we wish to convey our condolences and choose to remember all of them for their amazing contribution to the arts and the inspiration they so dearly sowed into the lives of many.


Read about how one talented artist is making waves in the industry, here.

Tell us: What has the work of these artists meant to you?