EVERY so often, there comes an entertainer who stands out from the crowd: Joe Mafela (1942-2017) was that kind. He 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 in his most recognisable role as Sdumo in ’Sgudi ’Snaysi, or whether he was Jabulani Cebekhulu in Going Up, Mafela proved time and again he was a thespian who had a deep respect for his craft. He discovered the special ingredient that defined the lead character in a comedy series.
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 he leaves behind. Presentday comedy actors and writers need to find it the way Mafela did. Joe Mafela is gone, but not forgotten. Lala ngoxolo, Sdumo.