Reflecting on the lives lost in 2023: a tribute to media and entertainment icons

Reflecting on the lives lost in 2023.

Reflecting on the lives lost in 2023.

Published Dec 14, 2023


As 2023 draws to a close, South Africa takes a look back at the tragic deaths that rocked the world of media and entertainment and left fans, colleagues and families distraught.

Through their work, the well-known figures impacted millions of people, and most of them are recognised for having had a significant influence on the media and entertainment industries.


Kiernan Jarryd Forbes. | David Ritchie Independent Newspapers

Award-winning rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes was shot dead in Durban outside Wish restaurant in February.

Forbes is among the artists who have been hailed for playing an integral role in the world of hip hop in South Africa.

Many remember him for not shying away from speaking his mind about societal issues affecting the country.

There has since been no progress in apprehending the murderers who were seen in CCTV footage shooting the rapper and his friend, Tebello “Tibz” Montsoane.

Costa Titch

Costa Titch. | Instagram

Costa Titch, who had built a name for himself in the industry, left his fans reeling in shock after the announcement of his untimely death.

Constantinos “Costa Titch” Tsobanoglou was 28 when he reportedly collapsed on stage while performing at the Ultra Music Festival at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg in March.

The “Bix Flexa” hitmaker had signed a global deal with popular and iconic American musician Akon just before his death.

Derek Watts

Derek Watts. | Facebook

“Carte Blanche” anchor and investigative journalist Derek Watts was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2022. The cancer progressed to his lungs.

In March, after a suspected stroke, he was taken to hospital and later diagnosed with severe sepsis.

Watts died on August 22 at the age of 74.

Zoleka Mandela

Author and activist. Zoleka Mandela. | Supplied

In September, Mzansi woke up to the news that well-known author and activist Zoleka Mandela had died at 43 after a long battle with cancer.

The Mandela family confirmed that Zoleka was admitted to hospital for treatment for metastatic cancer in, the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord.

She died on September 25 after scans uncovered significant disease progression, including fibrosis in the lungs and several emboli.

Eusebius McKaiser

Eusebius McKaiser.

Broadcaster, analyst and journalist Eusebius McKaiser’s death sent shock waves across the country.

McKaiser was known for his bold voice in multiple mediums and for holding many politicians accountable in their interactions.

He was also lauded for playing a transformative role in talk radio in a democratic South Africa.

Lebohang Mpyana

Lebohang Mpyana. | Supplied

Award-winning actor and comedian Lebohang Mpyana died after a short illness.

Mpyana was also widely known for her work as an MC and comedian.

The Limpopo-born talent was among the new industry faces that appeared in the award-winning telenovela “DiepCity”.

Jermaine Craig

8 august 2013 New Cape Argus editor Jermaine Craig

One of the shocking deaths this year was of Jermaine Craig, 48, who died after collapsing at the gym.

In his tear-jerking send-off held for hime, the respected sports writer and former 2010 Fifa World Cup bid and organising committee communications chief was remembered for touching many lives.

Craig was well-known for his achievements while at “The Star”. He was also a former editor of the “Cape Argus” and the Independent News Group’s general manager for sport.


Zahara. | Nokuthula Mbatha Independent Newspapers

Many South Africans say they have been robbed of great talent after the announcement of Bulelwa “Zahara” Mkutukana’s death on Monday night.

Mkutukana, 36 has been remembered as one of the artists who left an indelible mark on the mark in music, boasting a list of much-loved songs.

The “Loliwe” hitmaker touched millions of people’s lives with her extraordinary gift and passion for music.

Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa took to his timeline to announce the memorial service would be at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg on Thursday from 11am to 2pm.

The Star

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