We remember those in the arts and culture space who passed away this year.
November 8 1968 – December 25 2017
The veteran musician, producer and songwriter was loved for his Afropop and kwaito, as well as for helping shape the careers of the likes of Kabelo Mabalane, Arthur Mafokate, Mzekezeke and Kelly Khumalo.
September 19 1938 – January 3 2018
Celebrated South African poet, academic, teacher and political activist, Bra Willie was not only an influential member of the African National Congress, but South Africa’s first National Poet Laureate in 2006.
April 4 1939 – January 23 2018
South Africa’s most famous, most celebrated jazz musician passed away early this year. Famous for songs like Stimela, Soweto Blues and Bring Him Back Home, he was also a keen collaborator and mentor to younger artists.
July 26 1949 – January 25 2018
Veteran actor Sandy Mokwena, known primarily for his role as Bra Eddie on e.tv’s Scandal!, died of natural causes in January. Described as a true professional, he acted in some of South Africa’s most popular productions, including Yizo Yizo and Generations.
May 5 1932 – January 31 2018
Well-known actor David Phetoe, famous for his role as Paul Moroka in Generations, passed away at the age of 85. The veteran was also a mentor to younger actors, including Sello Maake ka-Ncube.
October 21 1978 – February 10 2018
Former Motsweding FM and North West FM presenter-turned-businessman Chris Matshaba died at the age of 40 after a battle with cancer.
November 29 1930 – June 25 2018
South Africa’s most celebrated photographer, David Goldblatt was known the world over for his images of apartheid-era South Africa and later for his quiet black and white images of our country’s landscapes and towns. A mentor and inspiration to many, he passed away at the age of 87.
March 25 1977 – July 26 2018
Veteran South African rapper Ben Sharpa, prolific in the hip-hop scene in the mid-2000s, passed away at the age of 41. He was known for his album B Sharpa and the massive street hit, Hegemony, about police brutality.
June 25 1981 – August 8 2018
Beloved rap pioneer Linda “ProKid” Mkhize passed away at the age of 37. Pro was known for making vernacular cool and birthing a genre called kasi rap, which paved the way for the many local hop-hop and kwaito artists who came after him.
September 14 1980 – October 24 2018
Jabulani “Hip Hop Pantsula” Tsambo was known for his unique style of rap performed in many languages, most notably Setswana. A pioneer and original talent, he was recognised as one of South Africa’s best motswako artists and garnered respect from those who came after him.