Roland Mqwebu died of renal failure.

Johannesburg - Popular actor Roland Bantubonke Mqwebu has died in Durban.

Known for his role as Mkhize in SABC1’s sitcom Emzini Wezinsizwa, “Khabazela” died in the eThekwini Hospital and Heart Centre on Friday. He was 78 and suffered renal failure.

His daughter, Andile Mqwebu, said her father had had kidney problems for a long time.

“We are celebrating his life more than anything. He is at peace now. He was my hero.

“I can remember that at school we watched Shaka Zulu. I would see him on TV. No matter which role he played, he was really good at what he did.”

In February, rumours that Mqwebu had died hit social media platforms, but these were quickly dismissed by his family. Mqwebu’s other daughter, Slindile Mqwebu, who works for Ukhozi FM, said at the time that the rumours dismayed the family.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi sent her condolences to Mqwebu’s family.

“Emzini Wezinsizwa was a household name and enjoyed high viewership ratings on SABC,” Muthambi said. “We wish (Mqwebu’s) family, friends and colleagues strength during this difficult time. Our hearts are with them.”

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture’s spokesman, Lethukuthula Mtshali, said: “We are saddened to lose yet another legend in the industry. These are the people we look up to and they are the ones who share their knowledge and mentor the youth.”

Besides having starred as King Shaka’s friend Ngomane in the 1980s classic series about the legendary Zulu king, Mqwebu featured in films such as Deliwe (1 and 2), Abaqaphi and By The River Side.

He was also a singer and musician and collaborated with Phuzekhemisi on the song Ekhaya Ngonyawo.

Other strings to his bow were director and motivational speaker. He featured in more than 32 international productions as an actor and director.

Mqwebu won several awards as an entertainer.

Other than his daughters, he leaves his wife, Pinky, two sons and seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

The Sunday Independent