‘Gun­man’s’ an­guish

CityPress - - News - NTOMBIZODWA MAKHOBA ntombizodwa@city­press.co.za

Afew weeks be­fore ac­tor Jabu Christo­pher “Gun­man” Kub­heka com­mit­ted sui­cide, he con­fided in his fam­ily and close friends that life was tough be­cause he was strug­gling to find a job. Friend Re­filwe Lekalakala said even though Kub­heka told her about his strug­gles, no one had re­alised how deeply they had af­fected him. Her re­gret now is that as fam­ily and friends, they could have done more to save his life.

“Two days be­fore he com­mit­ted sui­cide, I was with him and he was jolly and happy. Lit­tle did I know that he was plan­ning some­thing. No one saw this com­ing. We wouldn’t ex­pect this from him. Only God knows,” she said.

On Mon­day Kub­heka’s life­less body was found by his wife of seven years, Cyn­thia Khu­malo, at around 4.30pm hang­ing from a bur­glar gate in the Soshanguve home they shared.

Lekalakala said even though they wanted to cel­e­brate his life, it was dif­fi­cult, es­pe­cially af­ter hav­ing seen where he died. “It was a bad scene. We found tablets on the ta­ble,” she said.

Lekalakala added that even though Kub­heka drank al­co­hol al­most every day, he was se­ri­ous about life.

Kub­heka’s death also ap­pears to have un­masked di­vi­sions within his fam­ily. Two of his rel­a­tives, who asked not to be named, said they sus­pected he had mar­i­tal prob­lems that he kept to him­self. One fam­ily mem­ber, who claimed she was Kub­heka’s cousin, said he had paid ilobolo for Cyn­thia a few years ago.

“But we are sur­prised why, as chief mourner, she isn’t sit­ting on the mat­tress. This week she came with a trailer with Jabu’s be­long­ings and she didn’t even come into the fam­ily home in Mo­folo North, [Soweto],” she said.

But fam­ily spokesper­son Thami Madondo de­nied this, say­ing Cyn­thia was sit­ting on the mat­tress but that the fam­ily had al­lowed her to leave to make some of the funeral ar­range­ments.

On Fri­day, Kub­heka’s fam­ily and close friends paid trib­ute to him at the Soweto Theatre. Speaker af­ter speaker de­scribed him as a happy soul full of jokes.

Kub­heka’s daugh­ter, Khany­isile Tsha­bal­ala (16), told mourn­ers the fam­ily would en­sure that they lived his legacy. She said the last time she spoke to her dad was four months ago. “Although we didn’t speak to each other every day, I knew he loved his chil­dren,” she said. Kub­heka (48) has left be­hind more than 10 chil­dren.

Khany­isile said her fa­ther would be sad to see them cry­ing. “I know for sure he is there look­ing at us and smil­ing in heaven. He touched many lives while he was still alive and we are go­ing to do the same as him. We are proud to be Gun­man’s chil­dren.”

Ac­tress Nam­bitha Mpuml­wana told mourn­ers she was dev­as­tated when she heard of Kub­heka’s death.

“He was hurt­ing and in pain. He was dis­missed in his cir­cle of friends and fam­ily. Peo­ple must also re­mem­ber that we do this [act­ing] for a liv­ing. Most of us as ac­tors we are strug­gling. There are a very few tal­ented ac­tors who are work­ing,” she said.

Mpuml­wana pleaded with mourn­ers to re­spect and sup­port their craft. “Please peo­ple, see us. When I am not work­ing ask me: ‘What are you eat­ing?’ Don’t judge me in­stead,” she said. Ac­tor Me­shack Mavuso spoke of Kub­heka’s big break. “When he was cast in the pop­u­lar drama Yizo Yizo, his char­ac­ter was sup­posed to die. But the writ­ers and di­rec­tors of the show de­cided to grow his char­ac­ter be­cause that’s how great he was as an ac­tor,” he said. Mavuso said they had changed the face of TV. Kub­heka was dis­cov­ered by Bomb Pro­duc­tions di­rec­tor and pro­ducer An­gus Gibson, who de­scribed him as a “small pack­age of dy­na­mite” with bags of tal­ent. “He un­der­stood phys­i­cal com­edy and he also had elec­tri­cal en­ergy. He was a star to me. I liked that guy so much. I am go­ing to miss the life that he brought to our TV screens,” Gibson said.

Kub­heka was best known for his role as Gun­man on the SABC1 drama Yizo Yizo and as Ba­zooka Khumba on the chan­nel’s Zone 14. He started his act­ing ca­reer at Pos­i­tive Cre­ative Arts in Zola, Soweto.

His funeral will be held to­day at Umthombo Wol­wazi Hall in Dob­sonville Ex­ten­tion 3, Soweto. He will be buried at Avalon Ceme­tery.

PHOTO: LUCKY NX­U­MALO

BE­REAVED Jabu Kub­heka’s wife, Cyn­thia Khu­malo, dur­ing a me­mo­rial ser­vice in Soweto

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

DY­NA­MITE Zone 14 ac­tor Jabu ‘Gun­man’ Kub­heka was strug­gling to get a job

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