'To know God was to know Joe': Lillian Dube's heartrending tribute to her friend


He made many of us laugh and captured the hearts of many South Africans.

His television characters will forever be entrenched in our childhood memories.

That’s why Joe 'Sdumo' Mafela (74) untimely death has been met with so much sadness.

South Africans woke up to the heart breaking news on Sunday that the veteran actor who made a name for himself in the 80s was no more.

According to metro police, Joe was involved in a car accident at around 10 pm on the M1 North between the Oxford and Houghton Road off-ramps in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Joe was also a singer, songwriter and producer and recently appeared on Generations: The Legacy.

Joe’s unforgettable acting roles in TV shows such as the hugely popular Sgudi Snaysi, where he portrayed the character Sdumo.

His other iconic work where he starred in throughout the years are U' Deliwe, Going Up, Khululeka, Madam and Eve and the drama series Stokvel, a concept he came up with.

Joe also spoke all 11 official languages.

Lillian says Joe was in a process of producing a showing about local entertainment legends.

“He wanted to share with the young ones and the whole world what it was in the olden days,” she says. “Lately, what we talked about were the good old days and how things have changed.

“For instance, if you’re going to have awards and not invite legends like Joe Mafela or Abigail Kubeka, these children don’t know how important they are,” she adds.

Lillian says they were all excited about this venture but now disappointed because the brains behind it is now gone.

“But at least he told us and now it’s up to us.”

She says the last time she was him on the March 11, Joe was very happy.

“He used to call me sister-in-law because his wife is also from Lesotho,” she recalls.

He was looking forward to taking his wife to a cruise.

“What pleased him more is that the wife was looking forward to it even more.”

They came back from the cruise on Friday and the last thing Lillian expected was to wake up to the news of her friend’s death.

The two buddies also went together to Thandiswa Mazwai’s live concert at Gold Reef City early this month.

“We went to dinners together almost every night and just having laughs. It was like he was saying goodbye.”

They also used to gamble together and this was their downtime.

“We said, ‘We’re old and we’ve done it all. Let’s do the things that we love’.”

But she says it was more than just gambling for them but a lifestyle and their time to socialise.

“We’d attend the shows. We even went to s John Vlismas show.”

They also attended Lionel Ritchie and UB40 shows when they were in SA.

“It’s was a good life.”

Those who knew him described him as a humble person.

“Today, comedy is a fashionable thing but he started long ago.”

Lillian has lost a friend she used to share everything with, she tells us.

“He was just a beautiful and a gentle soul and unassuming.”

Lillian frowns upon the celeb culture that we’re seeing today in the entertainment industry.

“We’ve really lost a legend that was a good example in showbiz and life in general because people are now full of arrogance. To know God was to know Joe because God is love and Joe was full of that love.”

She tells us that the Mafelas are in deep pain.

He was a decent man, his kids have done well and his wife was taken care of, she adds.

“He had it all," she says. “He was talented, giving and he respected every human being because that’s what life is all about my child.”

Additional sources: SABC

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