Former Rhythm City actor Mncedisi Shabangu to be laid to rest on Saturday

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Mncedisi Shabangu's funeral details have been announced.
Mncedisi Shabangu's funeral details have been announced.
Instagram// Mncedisi Shabangu

His death has left his family and colleagues shattered. One day he seemed okay, and the next he was gone and they still can't believe it. 

He won the hearts of South Africans through his various theatre productions where he worked as an actor, playwright and director. 

Mncedisi Shabangu became a household name through his Rhythm City character, Khulekani Ngobese.

On the early hours of Sunday 24 July, while at his home in Mpumalanga, Mncedisi took his last breath after complaining about having chest pains. This is a day his childhood friend, Xolile Gama says he will never forget and the family is still in disbelief.

“We are taking what happened very hard. It took us by surprise, we did not expect it and we still can’t believe it. We are trying to find our minds around it, but it is a very difficult situation for us,” he tells Drum.

Xolile grew up with the actor and worked with him for over 30 years. He says he will always remember his friend, who later became his brother, as a man who always had a flair for storytelling.

Read more | ‘My brother is dead’ – Tributes pour in for Rhythm City actor Mncedisi Shabangu

“I grew up with him, I knew him from our childhood, way before we became actors. I also know him from a political level because we have a political relationship as well as a working relationship, which dates for like 30 years now.”

While reflecting on some of his best childhood memories with the late Mncedisi, Xolile recalls day his friend told him about his first encounter with theatre before describing him as a jovial person.

“He loved telling stories, he was really a jovial person and comes very far with his acting talent. When he told me about his first encounter with theatre, he said it was in the late 1980s when a Gibson Kente play, How Long?, was touring the country. They came to perform in KaNyamazane Community Hall, that was the first he encountered theatre and that moment was the crucial or turning point of his life,” he shares.

The thespian’s life will be honoured through two memorial services. The first took place at his home, KaNyamazane in Mpumalanga on 28 July where his friends, family and government officials within the arts paid their last respects. 

Speaking at the memorial, Dintho Maluka from arts and culture forum, says when he learnt about the passing of Mncedisi, he thought it was a joke. He says he brushed it off and thought it was part of his job as an actor.

“I picked my phone and called Xolile, and he kept quiet and couldn’t hold back his tears. That is when I knew that it was real and for it was still very painful."

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The second memorial will be in Gauteng and held from 12pm to 3pm on 03 August, at the Market Theatre in Newtown.

“It is two memorials because traditionally market theatre does memorial services in honor of the actors who have passed on, so the family as well have to conduct one as well,” Xolile says.

Mncedisi will be laid to rest on Saturday, 30 July at Alliance Church of South Africa which is located at his home KaNyamazane in Mpumalanga.

“He was a very good person, he was a true brother, very humble and loyal. I will remember him for his work too as an amazing actor that he was. I will miss a lot about him,” Xolile adds.  

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