‘It is still tough’ – Shona's daughter shares how the Ferguson Foundation plans to celebrate his birthday

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Shona Ferguson partnered with his wife Connie to start the Ferguson Foundation.
Shona Ferguson partnered with his wife Connie to start the Ferguson Foundation.

Today is his birthday and he would have turned 48 years old.

Film mogul Shona Ferguson passed away at 47-year-old in July 2021 from Covid-19-related complications.

Today, his family struggles to celebrate his birthday but do it the best way they know how and with what he would have loved.

His family together with the Ferguson Foundation, launch what they call the inaugural #ShonaFergusonDay to commemorate his life and legacy through a charitable cause. The Foundation will visit Emdeni Skills Centre in Soweto where they will be involved in the painting of the centre and maintenance of the infrastructure.

This will be followed with the cutting of a cake, as he would often do on his birthday.

In a statement, the Ferguson foundation leaders say, “Uncle Shona may no longer be with us but his vision and values will live on through the Ferguson Foundation.”

Going forward, this will become an annual celebration of ongoing projects that speak to his life’s mission of community support, the alleviation of poverty, skills development and transfer, as well as access to resources.

“This event officially launches several programmes that will run concurrently with the activities of the Ferguson Foundation co-founded with his wife Connie,” the statement reads.

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Shona’s daughter Lesedi Matsunyane-Ferguson tells Drum that losing Shona was tough and it still is. 

“It’s honestly been a process that we tackle day by day. He would have been 48 years old, its still tough,” she says.

They usually spend their birthday relaxing at home and eating his favourite food.

“We normally spend his birthday at home eating his favorite foods and spending time together as a family. It’s always been lowkey vibes with loved ones.”

A few days ago, she celebrated her son's birthday who was very close to Shona.

She says celebrating after Shona's passing will take some getting used to.

“It’s bittersweet honestly. It’s hard to show and celebrate a loved one that has departed. But we continue to celebrate his life and all the memories that we’ve experienced in this lifetime.”

The family and foundation will continue to keep his legacy alive. 

“We’ll be celebrating with the Emdeni Skills Centre with the Ferguson Foundation. Whilst we’ll be with loved ones, we are also going to continue his vision by giving back,” she adds.

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This past Easter holiday was the family’s first without Shona. His wife Connie Ferguson said it was bittersweet. 

“Everything is the first without hubby right now. What we are trying to do is maintain continuity and do what we used to do when he was around. We don’t want to stop the family traditions,” she said.

The foundation was founded by Shona and Connie Ferguson and supports disadvantaged individuals and communities by empowering them in business, education, film, and ultimately building industry leaders.

“The primary objective of the program is to create tomorrow’s dreams today by promoting young entrepreneurs, funding the education of disadvantaged youth, and nurturing film enthusiasts,” Shona said in a Drum interview.

“We also aim to create balanced and equal opportunities for women who have been dealt a disadvantage in life. Education is one of the main pillars of this Foundation and sponsors University fees for five children from disadvantaged families and will fund them throughout their undergraduate programs. We also nurture the future leaders of SA by being the bedrock for young boys to be more conscious of their impact and their importance in society.”

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