The general of small screen has fallen

2018-01-28 06:01
Sandy Mokwena

Sandy Mokwena

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In a week of loss for South African art, veteran actor Sandy Mokwena passed away on Wednesday – just a day after jazz legend Hugh Masekela’s death shocked the world. Mokwena was known for his role as Bra Eddie on’s popular soapie Scandal! He was 68.

Mokwena’s colleagues say he played a leadership role among his co-stars and crew on the set of the programme.

Kagiso Modupe, who plays Mangi on the soapie, said: “When we all found out [about his death], people were shattered. It’s because people had hope. When we saw him last week, he looked strong but sick. He forced himself to come do a scene with us. I was in that scene and so was Brighton Ngoma. We didn’t know that would be his final scene – him basically saying goodbye.”

Mokwena has appeared on the show since its first episode aired in 2005. His last scene was shot during the filming of the 3 000th episode.

Modupe said: “It’s how a legend bows out,” adding that the mood at work was sad.

“I looked at his room and his door was closed. I half expected him to open it and give me a lecture. It’s sad to think that won’t happen again.”

Mokwena held a higher diploma in dramatic art from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the UK. From 1972 to 1984, he toured the world with the cast of the hit musical Ipi Tombi, playing the role of Cappie. He was known for being able to speak Afrikaans, English, Sesotho and Zulu, and his mother tongue was Setswana. From time to time during his career, he participated in a few radio plays for the SABC and appeared in numerous TV adverts.

Joyce Skefu, who plays Bra Eddie’s wife Maletsatsi on the soapie, said Scandal! had lost a fulcrum of strength and leadership.

Skefu, who spent a fair amount of time on screen with Mokwena, expressed sadness at his seemingly unexpected death.

“This is a huge loss for myself and the Scandal! team. Sandy was a colleague of mine who was like family to me.”

Scandal! has consistently been one of the best soapies on local television, thanks in part to the hard work put in by members of the cast such as Mokwena.

“He had a kind, natural spirit and was one of hardest working actors I have ever worked with. His qualities were unmatched and he represented a professionalism that is hard to find these days,” Skefu said.

Mokwena appeared in a wide range of shows, including Generations, Soul City, Yizo Yizo, Justice For All, Going Up, Okavango and Zero Tolerance.

He also had a few feature films under his belt, namely Taxi to Soweto (1991), The Principal (1996), Dead End (1999) and Scarback (2000).

Scandal! publicist Michael Pocock said: “We’re deeply saddened by the news and our condolences go out to Sandy’s family and the cast and crew of Scandal!”

Modupe said: “Unlike some of the older actors in the industry, Mokwena didn’t want to impose himself on young actors. He allowed you to be you. He just guided you along. I’m going to miss him coaching us.

“He was young at heart and naughty ... teasing us. He even had a nickname for everyone. It was his way of making an individual feel special as he would only ever use that nickname for that one person.”

As far as acting goes, Modupe said: “You can’t touch him! To me he was the general … The general has fallen. He led from the front. There is one thing he is known for – Bra Sandy never came to work unprepared.”

Read more on:    sandy mokwena  |  kagiso modupe

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