The Shabangu family has confirmed a public memorial service will be held for thespian Mncedisi Baldwin Shabangu at the Alliance Church of South Africa, KaNyamazane, Mpumalanga on Thursday, July 28 from 1pm to 4pm.
In a statement issued on social media, the family announced that the funeral service for the “Rhythm City” actor will follow at the same venue, on Saturday, July 30 from 7am to 11am.
The multifaceted actor and theatre-maker died on July 24 at the age of 54.
The Shabangu family confirmed his sudden death in a statement that read: “It is with great sadness that the Shabangu Family informs you of the sudden passing of Mncedisi Baldwin Shabangu.
“He passed away in the early hours of this morning, July 24.”
According to the family statement, a second memorial service will be held at the Market Theatre on Wednesday, August 3 from 12pm to 3pm.
Tributes have continued to pour in for Shabangu since the news of his passing broke earlier in the week.
Speaking to IOL Lifestyle, Francois Jacobs, who played Morris alongside Shabangu in Athol Fugard's timeless classic, “Blood Knot”, that was recently staged at the Baxter, said he is still reeling following his mentor’s death.
“It is still a shocker. It was maybe a month and a half ago that we were on stage together and now he’s no more. I’ve lost a brother and a friend,” said Jacobs.
Directed by James Ngcobo, “Blood Knot” tackles themes of brotherhood. Set in the suburb of Korsten in Port Elizabeth, the play delves into the love between two brothers, the kind that transcends skin colour.
“I had the privilege of sharing the stage with him on one of the masterpieces that I think he executed so well, and that was special,” said Jacobs.
“I was also honoured to have him as a mentor in directing. I directed my first play ”Brothers“ at the Market Theatre in 2019, which he mentored and that's how we got to know one another.”
On how he remembered Shabangu, Jacobs said: “Mncedisi was one of the most talented people I've ever worked with in theatre, in the arts for that matter.
“He was also a mentor for so many people, on and off stage, which is something that really stuck with me.
“Not only was he a mentor and inspiration for so many people, but he was also an incredible person. I’ve always looked up to him. And it was a true blood knot between the two of us, seeing that we are both from Nelspruit.
“There are very few people coming from that side of the world that enter the arts, that make it big. And he was a big inspiration for many people coming from Mbombela, Nelspruit.”
Jacobs hailed Shabangu for his fierce and resilient spirit and his determination to succeed.
“We've got a beautiful story. Back in the day when I was in primary school, he used to sell newspapers in front of my school, you know. And the fact that we came from a small town like Nelspruit, to a stage where we are both on a stage together, is just something so magical.
“And the persistence that he had, coming from a young age, and background like that, to where he had come, speaks for itself.
“He was just a true human; not a single person that I've met has ever had anything bad to say about him. When Mncedisi’s name came up, people's faces lit up - he had that effect on people.”
In his long career, Shabangu worked with top directors like Lara Foot, James Ngcobo, Paul Grootboom, Malcolm Purkey, Aubrey Sekhabi, Craig Higginson, John Matshikiza, William Kentridge and two young directors who were his students, Motshabi Monageng and Price Lamla.
He appeared in classic productions including “Nongogo”, “Woza Albert”, “Asinamali”, Tshepang” and “Woyzeck”, among others.
He also appeared in “Catch A Fire”, alongside Bonnie Mbuli, Derek Luke and Tim Robbins, and “Book of Negros”.