CityPress - - Front Page - Ntombizodwa Makhoba

“I hugged him tightly and said good­bye. I didn’t know it was our last hug. I didn’t know I was say­ing good­bye for good. I didn’t know I would not see him again.”

Th­ese are the words of Joe Mafela’s close friend, Son­ny­boy Khoza, who spent his last hol­i­day with the Mafe­las at Por­tuguese Is­land in Mozam­bique this month.

Khoza last saw Mafela at OR Tambo Air­port, the day be­fore he died in a car ac­ci­dent on Jo­han­nes­burg’s M1 high­way last Satur­day night. He had just re­turned from his an­nual stokvel cruise with his wife, Andy, and their close friends.

Khoza, a long­time friend, said they had been run­ning their stokvel hol­i­day ar­range­ment for more than five years and had be­come a big fam­ily.

He said what made this hol­i­day ex­tra spe­cial was that Andy joined them. “It was rare that Joe would travel with his wife, but this time he brought her with him and they had time to­gether.

“On our last day on the cruise, as usual, Joe was min­gling and jok­ing with ev­ery­one. While we were still chilling and hav­ing our drinks, 80% of peo­ple of all colours came and took pic­tures with him. This re­ally showed that ev­ery­one knew who he was. But that didn’t bother him. He didn’t stop en­ter­tain­ing his fans.”

Speak­ing af­ter Mafela’s me­mo­rial ser­vice, held on Thurs­day morn­ing at the Jo­han­nes­burg Theatre, his younger brother, Paul, said he was dev­as­tated.

He last saw Mafela ear­lier this month, and the last thing Mafela told him was that he wished to “con­duct the un­veil­ing cer­e­mony for our great-grand­fa­ther in Novem­ber”.

“Now that Joe is no more, I have to make his wish come true,” he said.

“We were very close. We used to do things to­gether, such as driv­ing. He re­ally en­joyed driv­ing. I don’t have a driver’s li­cence; now I have no one to drive me.”

Mafela, he said, brought the fam­ily closer. “He put the fam­ily to­gether. He was a peace­maker.”

Mafela’s funeral ser­vice takes place on Wed­nes­day at the Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg’s Soweto Cam­pus from 9am to noon. He will be laid to rest at West­park Ceme­tery.


RE­LAX­ING ON VACAY Joe Mafela on a cruise to Por­tugese Is­land in Mozam­bique with friends

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