Sandile Ntuli Gauteng very so often, there comes an entertainer who is able to stand out from the crowd. Joe Mafela (19422017) was that kind of entertainer. Mafela was able to take a genre that for many an actor is difficult to perfect – comedy – and he was able to get 10 out of 10 every time.
Whether he found himself as imbungulu (the bedbug) in his most recognisable role as Sdumo in ’Sgudi ’Snaysi, or whether he was Jabulani Cebekhulu in Going Up!, Mafela proved time and again that he was a thespian who had a deep respect for his craft.
He truly discovered the special ingredient that defined the lead character in a comedy series, the same way Ray Ntlokwana did as Velaphi in the isiXhosa sitcom of the same name.
We will never see the likes of Mafela again; he was taken too soon. Yet, that special ingredient for making a great sitcom that Mafela and his contemporaries discovered is the inheritance that he leaves behind.
Present-day comedy actors and writers urgently need to find that ingredient in the same way Mafela and his contemporaries did. Joe Mafela is gone, but not forgotten.
Lala ngoxolo (rest in peace), Sdumo.