Johannesburg – South Africa’s television sector is in mourning following the weekend deaths of Generations stars Menzi Ngubane (56) and Noxolo Maqashalala (44).
Ngubane – portrayed the villain Sbusiso Dlomo in the popular soap and lit up the small screen for more than a decade – passed away on March 13 with the cause of death linked to a stroke that he suffered in 2020.
A day earlier, the country reeled from news of the mysterious death of Maqashalala, whose body was reportedly found at her Johannesburg home. Maqashalala appeared on Generations and Rhythm City, among other dramas, and was popular for her lead role in Tsha Tsha in which she played the role of uViwe.
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said of the double tragedy: “South Africa and the world have lost two phenomenal thespians. Menzi Ngubane was an icon, an acting aficionado who used his voice and his influence to demystify issues on kidney disease and sugar diabetes while promoting positive lifestyle changes. He was a well-known and well-loved public figure who left an ineffaceable mark on the South African arts landscape.”
He also said, “Many will remember Maqashala for her lead role as Viwe in the 2003 SABC youth drama Tsha Tsha … she was a sterling performer who gave her best at every role that she took on.”
Ngubane made his TV debut as Cijimpi in Kwakhala Nyonini. He also appeared as Judas Ngwenya in Isibaya.
Ngubane Family spokesperson Naomi Mokhela said, “This is devastating; the family is not coping at all. I was there earlier on, its bad news for everybody.”
In Maqashalala’s case, family friend Senyukele Zibobo said: “I received a call from her brother informing me of her death. Someone went to drop off something at her place and realised there was something strange. The person found her body inside the house. Forensic personnel were called immediately. The forensic personnel told them that they suspected she had been dead for almost a week.”
Police were this week investigating the cause of death.
“Our members arrived on the scene and found the property locked and when the members managed to enter the property, they found a partly decomposed body of a female. No foul play was discovered at the time of recovering the body,” said police spokesperson Bulan Muthan.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions said the county had lost versatile and exemplary artists.
“They told South African stories in an enlightening and enjoyable way and contributed to growth of the entertainment sector in South Africa. They were familiar faces and voices on the nation’s living rooms and their untimely death has created a vacuum in the industry. They will be remembered for their immense talents and their dedication to their craft. They used their talents in a constructive way,” said the organisation.