“I did not only lose a best friend, but I have also lost a sister and confidante. Mary [Twala] was everything to me. She has left a void in my life. I feel like a part of me is dead.”
These are the moving words of veteran actress Mary Twala’s best friend, Lillian Dube, on Saturday, following the news of her passing. Twala was 80.
Her death was announced by her son, TV darling Somizi Mhlongo, on his social media platforms. “Today is my father’s birthday and my mum decided to respond to his call to join him in heaven. The tree has fallen. I am shattered to the core, but I would be selfish if I don’t release her. My mum lived to the fullest, achieved beyond her dreams. It hurts like hell, I won’t lie,” Somizi posted on his Instagram page.
Messages of comfort from his legions of fans soon followed. In a career spanning decades, Twala appeared in a number of productions, including Skwizas, Yizo Yizo, Zone 14, Khululeka, Home Affairs and Hlala Kwabafileyo.
As the world mourned the passing of one of Mzanzi’s icons, the bubbly Dube shared vivid memories of her friend and colleague: “She has been sick for a long time.
“The last time I spoke to her was a few weeks ago and all she wanted was to heal and be merry.”
She described Twala as a humble, kind and a generous soul. “For someone who has achieved so much, she never let fame get to her head. Mary was still your girl next door. She was a star by nature,” she said.
Dube said one thing she would miss about Twala was that, whenever she travelled overseas, she always bought her Chloe, her favourite perfume.
Dube added that Twala and Somizi had a very special bond.
“I remember they would sing together in my presence and I would be so jealous because I could not sing,” she laughed.
“One thing I like about Mary is that she accepted that her son was gay. She embraced him and never judged him because she knew he was a gift from God,” she said, adding that she was unlike other parents who crucify their children and hide behind religion.
“I can write a book about Mary because I spent most of my life with her. We once lived a street away from each other in Orlando West, Soweto. Mary has paid her dues in the showbiz industry.
“Let’s honour and celebrate her life. She lived her life to the fullest.”
Meanwhile, another music industry giant, veteran playwright Welcome Msomi (76), also passed away on Saturday.
Msomi was reported to have suffered a stroke last year.
After a sterling career, he was convicted of stealing R8 million from the Living Legends Legacy Programme set up by government.