The late Dumi Masilela, also known as Sfiso on Rhythm City. Picture: Facebook
MAPILETSO MOTUMI

“TAKE care of mom and the family.”

These were the last words Dumisani Masilela said to his younger brother Mbongeni just before he went in for an operation after being shot during an attempted hijacking.

News of the 29-year-old actor’s death came in early yesterday morning and industry friends and fans are mourning.

Masilela succumbed to his injuries after he tried to flee an attempted hijacking in the car he was driving on Wednesday night.

Police spokesperson Kay Makhubele said the incident happened about 8pm in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni. “It is believed that three people in a Jeep blocked off their car and shot at the victim who was in a white VW Golf 7.”

Deputy Minister of Police Bongani Mkongi visited the Masilela family at their home in Van Riebeeck Park to convey their condolences.

“We came here as ministry of police to give hope and pray with them that this tragedy is not only hanging on their heads but on the heads of all South Africans. If the family is hurt the whole country is hurt.”

Mkongi said they promised the family that they were following all the leads to arrest the criminals.

“They have been doing this for so long, this is the last one they have killed. We are going to find them whether it is today, tomorrow, tonight or during the course of the weekend. We have the leads and we are going to arrest them.

“Wherever they are sitting now, enjoying with their liquor and drugs - they must remember that the law is going to arrest them.”

Mbongeni Masilela said his brother, Dumi as he was affectionately known, had told him something private while in the hospital and he knew that meant he was telling him to take care of the family.

He said the family was thankful to the police for their help and knew that they would do everything in their power to help them.

“We are saddened and hurt but we have to be strong for Dumisani because he was strong for us, he was our big brother, our role model a son to umama nobaba.

“We appreciate everything he has done for us so we will also be strong for mama as he was for the family.”

Before acting, Masilela made it into the Top 16 on Idols in 2012. His professional football career in the PSL ended after he was in a car crash.

Masilela was known mostly for playing the role of Sifiso Ngema in popular e.tv soapie Rhythm City for the last five years.

Publicist for the series, which just celebrated 10 years on air recently, Mpumi Phillips said the cast and crew were in shock.

“Dumi was initially the quiet, shy type when he first started on the show but then after getting to know everyone he became one of the bubbliest people and cracked jokes all the time,” she said.

Phillips added that Masilela was always concerned with the well being of others.

“Whether it was a big cast member or one of the cleaners, he always spoke with a lot of respect and treated everyone the same.”

She said the cast, which includes Jamie Bartlett, Thembi Seete, Mduduzi Mabaso and Tebogo Khalo, were devastated and that production for the show was shut down yesterday and would not be shooting scenes again today.

“The Masilela family are trying to deal with the news,” she added.

Masilela had married actress Simphiwe Ngema a few months ago and they posted pictures about their love for each other online. In one Instagram post Ngema wrote about how grateful she was to have Masilela in her life: “The world has not seen nor heard of what God has in store for you. Watching you grow into the role of being a husband and leader of our family has been a blessing. I am proud to be called your wife.”

It is also reported that Masilela’s aunt died after hearing the news of his death. The family had buried Masilela’s father last year.

Mbongeni said he would always remember his brother for his good heart.

“He was warm to people, willing to accept them for who they were.

“He brought smiles to our faces. He may be gone now but we are happy (with who he was) we are not disappointed with him.

“We are so proud of him.”

Makhubele said the police had opened a case of murder and attempted hijacking. No arrests have been made yet. The family said they would communicate details of a memorial service and funeral arrangements at a later stage.