Media Statement: On the passing of Joe Mafela

The fall of a happy giant, a loss to a weeping nation

The Nelson Mandela Foundation joins the rest of South Africa, in extending our deepest condolences to the Mafela family following the untimely passing of one of South Africa’s greatest entertainment icons Joe Mafela.

Mafela was an incredible actor in both film and television, a writer, a producer and a potent singer who occupied a special place in the hearts of African audiences. 

“We are shocked and saddened by the news of the death of this great South African, a wonderful human being and a committed voice of the arts” said Sello Hatang, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Mafela was not one who would keep silent while artists were not treated with dignity. He spoke for the rights of many artists including those who did not get the respect that he was afforded. “As we deal with this loss, we should also remember the happy person Mafela was and the joy he brought into our homes, thus we should celebrate the impact he made in our lives during the toughest of times” added Hatang.

As the arts industry celebrate their achievements this week through the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), we call on the industry to reflect on itself, engage on the plight of many of its own and take forward the cause Mafela so personally championed, that of seeing a totally transformed industry,  which does not only celebrate its artists but rewards them fairly.

Our thoughts are with the Mafela family, the arts and entertainment industry and with all South Africans who feel a sense of loss at this time.

Ends 

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