Mourners bid farewell to fallen ‘shero’
Manaka speaks of late friend Iko
TEARS, laughter and fabulousness engulfed the memorial service of the late celebrity stylist and make-up artist and ‘shero’ of the LGBTQI Iko Mash at Bassline, Newtown, yesterday afternoon.
Family, friends and colleagues of Mash gathered to share the last memories they had with the flamboyant artist. Mash was an actor and LGBTQI activist who passed away after a battle with cancer last Friday.
Born Billy Mothola Emmanuel Mashiloane in Soweto, the 42-year-old was one of South Africa’s first transgender females to make headlines in the entertainment industry.
Friends in the entertainment industry and members of government recall Mash as one who was honest with herself and others.
Brother, Sello Mashiloane told mourners that the celebrity make-up artist was always his big brother and a fighter.
“He always said to me ‘you don’t have to call me big sister because since we were younger I was always your big brother’, before his transformation,” said Mashiloane.
“Iko was always a confident person,” he said.
Mashiloane said: “No matter how hard it was for him in life he would always fight. He didn’t want me to see his vulnerable side at all.
“He was like a pillar of strength to me and my family… After the transformation and the public spotlight, in his family he would dedicate special time for us, where he would open and become himself with us.”
According to Mashiloane, his elder brother was a very private person and did not want to inform them of his illness.
Close friend and actress from Generation the Legacy, Manaka Ranaka said: “I am shattered, I am traumatized, I am hurt and have to come to terms with the fact that I will never leave my house keys with you again to give to aunty so that she can clean for us.”
“I will never hear you nag me to cook for you again, your favourite meals that I made for us.
“I’d always say to you ‘oskatlo hlanyela mos awa’ntshetsa mahadi’ (Don’t be crazy, you didn’t pay lobola for me),” she said jokingly.
Ranaka added: “More than anything Iko treated me, like her husband or wife. I don’t know what she was expecting from me. But today I choose to proudly stand here today as her husband”.
Manaka described how her friend was part of her growth in her acting career.
“She loved helping me with my scripts… I will give her credit to my performance too,” she said.
Manaka told mourners that she was glad that Mash was not alone when she passed away.
“Tsala I chose my children over you and now I know why…” said Manaka.
Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Makhotso Sotyu and ANC NEC member and Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane were among the government delegates who paid their last respects to the fallen ‘shero’.
Members of the entertainment industry who were present to share their final and fondest moments with Mash were friend Andile Gaelesiwe, Somizi Mhlongo, member of the popular music group Threesome Amstel Maboe, Kelly Khumalo and actress Connie Chiume.
PICTURE: DIMPHO MAJA ‘SHERO’: Manaka Ranaka at the memorial service of Iko Mash at Bassline in Newtown.