Arts Minister renews call for fight against racism

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pretoria – Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called on South Africans to continue to fight racism and discrimination.

Addressing mourners at the funeral of legendary artist Joe Mafela, he said as South Africa bids farewell to exemplary South Africans such as Mafela and struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada, the county must strengthen its commitment to building anew.

“They [Mafela and Kathrada] would want us to fulfil their dreams of a peaceful and prosperous country characterized by unity, non-racialism, non-sexism and a deepening democracy,” Minister Mthethwa said on Wednesday.

Mafela, who had an illustrious career in film, television and stage, died in a car accident on Saturday, 18 March.

“Mafela was versatile, inimitable and generous to the core and indeed swam in the sea of our connections with a common humanity.

“He seized the day and broke barriers, even during the darkest decades of apartheid. He expanded the possibilities for black actors and the characters they depict both in film and on television,” he said.

Minister Mthethwa said Mafela could inspire laughter when there could have been tears.

“He had a creative vision, which he shared with us in many different ways through his varied roles over five decades as an actor, musician, playwright, producer, director, advertising director and co-owner of a film company.

“Over decades, he remained at the centre stage of his craft by reinventing himself, making strategic use of opportunities or creating them himself,” he said.

Minister Mthethwa said Mafela celebrated South Africa’s diversity.

“He seized the day and broke barriers, even during the darkest decades of apartheid. He expanded the possibilities for black actors and the characters they depict both in film and on television,” he said.

Mafela made his acting debut in 1964 when he appeared in the feature movie Real News.

He starred in the isiZulu sitcom ‘Sgudi ‘Snaysi (colloquial for “it’s good, it’s nice”), in which he played the character of Sdumo. This sitcom became a major hit in its time.

He won numerous awards, including a Loerie for his advertising work and best actor in comedy at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs).

Mafela also received an Emmy nomination. In recent times, he acted on Generations: the Legacy. – SAnews.gov.za

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