Doctor Moagiemang, who was with Mandla when he died, and his other friend Jeffrey Manamela. Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA
Doctor Moagiemang, who was with Mandla when he died, and his other friend Jeffrey Manamela. Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA
Jozi FM Station Manager Mpho Mhlongo Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA
Jozi FM Station Manager Mpho Mhlongo Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA
Johannesburg – Friends and family will on Tuesday night hold a vigil for Mandla Hlatshwayo, the former Generations actor who was shot dead on Mother’s Day when he and a friend tried to stop a gang of armed men from robbing two women.

Jozi FM station manager Mpho Mhlongo said the night vigil was to call on men to act against violence on women and live by Hlatshwayo's principles of protecting women.

The callous gunmen robbed the women of their cellphones and then turned their guns on Hlatshwayo and his friend Chom Chom – both men died of gunshot wounds.

Police on Tuesday said four men had been taken into custody in connection with the double murder outside Meli pub in Pimville Zone 3, Soweto. At the pub there was an eerie atmosphere.

Inside workers dutifully mopped the floor, but it was obvious something was amiss – everyone knew Hlatshwayo and it was evident they knew he had been shot dead.

Hlatshwayo had been on the popular television soapie for seven years playing the role of S'phiwe. At the time of his death 40-year-old Hlatshwayo was a DJ on Jozi FM radio. He had five children and three siblings. He grew up not far from the pub in a modest house on Fundudzi Street, in the Chiawelo section of Soweto.

His father died under similar circumstances, he was gunned down 17-years-ago during a robbery not far from his house. Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday expressed "deep sadness"over Hlatshwayo death and sent his condolences to his family.

“The country has lost one of its shining young stars in the entertainment industry, who passed away reportedly at the hands of cold-hearted criminals. We convey our heartfelt condolences to his family. Our prayers and thoughts are with them in this difficult period. May his soul rest in peace,” Zuma said in a statement.

When the African News Agency news team arrived on Tuesday morning, mourners were seen coming and leaving the house. A group of people were standing outside the house.

Two burly men were restricting access into the yard, but, Mhlongo was on his way out.

Jozi FM Station Manager Mpho Mhlongo Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA

Asked to describe Hlatshwayo, Mhlongo said he was a “giant in his own way, he was very peaceful individual, very humble and yet very noisy”.

"When he was with you, you could feel that Mandla is here and when he leaves you could tell someone has left. I think that's what we going to miss the most. He loved to laugh, even in hard circumstances he wanted someone to be at ease."

Mhlongo said Hlatshwayo encouraged him to participate in marathons and live a healthy lifestyle. "I started running because of his encouragement. We started to do the Diepkloof marathon and also two Soweto marathons. I was never a runner but he encouraged me."

Mhlongo described the deceased as a man who lived a selfless life and never got tired of doing good.

"If someone was ill or had other commitments. He would drop everything and do the show without worrying if he's getting paid or not. He loved serving the community, he gave a lot of DJ's opportunities in his show. He encouraged them to come to the station to showcase their skills."

Mhlongo explained how Hlatshwayo was part of the Soweto Walk For Life and how they had planned to host it every month in different townships. "Now we going to do it without him and it's going to leave a huge gap."

Daddy Motswagae, Hlatshwayo's childhood friend described his late friend as a hard worker and an ambitious man with big dreams.

"After leaving Generations, he decided to go independent and wanted to grow in radio. He was a businesses man and ambitious. He said Hlatshwayo was independent and moved out his parents house immediately when he started working and managed to buy himself a house in Kibler Park, South of Johannesburg. Doctor Moagiemang one of Hlatshwayo's friends who was with him the night he died, struggled to express himself as he wiped tears under his sunglasses.

"That guy had too many projects in his mind, he had so many things coming. The whole day we were reminiscing, we were talking about projects he's been doing."