Actress Mary Twala. Picture: Twitter
Actress Mary Twala. Picture: Twitter

Final curtain closes on two of South Africa's greatest thespians

By Nkululeko Nene Time of article published Jul 5, 2020

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Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa paid tribute to the actress Mary Twala, and mother of TV personality and socialite Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung, saying the country had lost a great talent.

According to a statement from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture Twala, 80, died on Friday morning on the birthday of her late husband Ndaba Mhlongo, also a former actor.

Mthethwa said Twala was a veteran actress who featured in many South African television and theatre productions, as well as international feature films. Last year, she received the Order of Ikamanga for her contribution to the performing arts, an honour bestowed upon her by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

 Veteran playwright Welcome Msomi, 77, died on Friday at his home in uMlazi, south of Durban.

“She will best be remembered for her excellent contribution to the performing arts and for creatively raising awareness on women’s health issues through storytelling. Her sense of humour and humility on and off stage have endeared her to the nation at large,” he said.

“She lived a full life. May her soul rest in peace and may her son, her granddaughter, her family and friends be comforted in this time. Take a bow, Ma’Twala,” said Mthethwa.

Meanwhile, another veteran playwright Chesterville-born Welcome Msomi, 77, died on Friday at his home in uMlazi, south of Durban. Msomi will be remembered for his famous work uMabatha, a Zulu adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, also received much acclaim.

But Msomi’s fame has been overshadowed by corruption charges after he was convicted for theft of R8 million from the Living Legends Legacy Programme trust fund. He was found guilty on 61 counts of theft in October.

He was a nominee for the Laurence Olivier Award for best theatre choreographer. His work as a playwright and producer saw him receive critical acclaim internationally. He founded Izulu Dance Theatre and Music.

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