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Mandla remembered as the people's hero in Soweto

The Star
Mandla Hlatshwayo was lauded yesterday for being brave and doing what most men fail to do - protecting women.

This was revealed at his memorial service where scores of people, including friends and family, gathered at the Protea South Multipurpose Centre to honour him.

Hlatshwayo was a DJ at Jozi FM for five years, where he presented a weekend slot. The former Generations and Yizo Yizo actor was shot and killed on Sunday night at a pub in Pimville, Soweto.

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GRIEVING: Mamie Maleeme (Mandla’s fiancée), Maggie Hlatshwayo (his sister) and Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza at his memorial service at the Protea South Multipurpose Centre in Soweto. Pictures: Matthews BaloyiTRIBUTE: Jones Takalani, a friend of Mandla Hlatshwayo.

He and a friend, Oupa Duma, were allegedly trying to assist two women who were being robbed of their cellphones.

Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza and MMC for community development Nonhlanhla Sifumba also attended the ceremony.

Mayathula-Khoza, who took to the podium, said she remembered Hlatshwayo as being a loving individual.

“He wasn’t just a DJ. He was aware of what was happening in the world. He would invite politicians to his show, because he wanted to keep his listeners abreast of what was happening around them,” she said.

“He gave his own life to save that of a woman. He was very brave.

“When young men or older men see something wrong is happening, they would turn away. He is a legend of the people of Soweto because he was brave and tried to save women from criminality,” Mayathula-Khoza said.

She said if it were not for Hlatshwayo, more than three women would have been killed in Soweto over the past weekend.

Harris Nkonjwa 33 Mduduzi Mncube 37 Thabang Tladi 38 and Walter Benane 43 - were arrested for the murders.

The four appeared yesterday in the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court, where they were charged with two counts of murder robbery with aggravating circumstances and dealing in drugs.

The case was postponed to next week for legal representation to be found.

Mpho Mhlongo, Jozi FM’s chief executive, lamented the manner in which Hlatshwayo died but praised him, saying not many men would have done what he did.

“We all know that men are trash. We are trash for keeping quiet and not doing anything about the state of things when women are being attacked.

“We need to prove that men are not trash by taking action. Now is the time,” he said. “Mandla took action and he was not trash. If we follow in his steps, we too will not be trash.”

He said there was a need for men to protect women, especially against the backdrop of the current wave of femicide that had engulfed the country.

“We can’t keep quiet as men when our kids are being raped, kidnapped and killed. We need to stand up and act against it,” Mhlongo urged.

He described Hlatshwayo as a gentleman who was passionate about improving the lives of others.

On the day of the DJ’s murder, Mhlongo said, he had received a call that Hlatshwayo had been shot and killed in Pimville, but dismissed it, thinking it was a prank circulating on social media.

“After receiving a second call, I went to Pimville and saw his car there. I saw a lot of police and later saw his body lying there in the cold, with his hat next to him. I wanted to tell him to get up so we could leave,” he said.

Mhlongo said this was when it dawned on him that Hlatshwayo was indeed dead.

He said he was saddened when he found that Hlatshwayo’s shoes and cellphone were also taken during the robbery.

“How could one do something like that? These are the type of people we live with in our society. We as a community need to bring an end to this,” he said.

During the moving ceremony, those present could be seen shedding tears whenever clips from Hlatshwayo’s radio show were played at various intervals.

Tshepo Makgopa, a friend and colleague, said he met Hlatshwayo through the disc jockey scene in Soweto, where Hlatshwayo showed him the ropes. He said he and Hlatshwayo were more than friends, they were brothers.

“He was a naughty boy. Mandla was an easy guy and made it easy for us to get to know his family, because he was such a nice guy,” he said.

Hlatshwayo will be buried at Avalon Cemetery in Soweto tomorrow.

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