Mourn­ers bid farewell to fallen ‘shero’

Manaka speaks of late friend Iko

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - NOKUTHULA ZWANE nokuthula.zwane@inl.co.za

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.

@Zwane_2li2ls

PIC­TURE: DIMPHO MAJA ‘SHERO’: Manaka Ranaka at the memo­rial ser­vice of Iko Mash at Bassline in New­town.

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