South African stars we lost in 2021, see their accomplishment. Here’s the cause of deaths. This year, the South African entertainment industry has suffered tremendous losses with the passing of many actors, directors, television and theatre creatives, writers and musicians.

South African stars we lost in 2021, see their accomplishment. Here’s the cause of deaths.

As we bid farewell to the year 2021, we remember some of the influential stars whose talent impacted many people’s lives and whose untimely deaths Mzansi.

She appeared on local and international stages, and major theatre and arts festivals across South Africa and abroad. She also featured on stage in works by Shakespeare, Willy Russell, Athol Fugard and Pieter-Dirk Uys.


1.Menzi Ngubane

Menzi Ngubane, popularly for his character as Ngamla on Generations, died of a stroke on March 13, 2021, following a long battle with kidney disease and diabetes. He was 56. In 2004, Ngubane was diagnosed with kidney failure which led to him being placed on a kidney transplant list and ultimately undergoing the life-saving operation, giving him a second chance to do what he loved most, acting.

The legendary actor spoke openly about his health challenges, raising awareness around kidney disease. With a career spanning over three decades, the multi-award-winning actor played numerous TV and film roles including Kwakhala Nyonini, Yizo Yizo, Ashes to Ashes, Gold Diggers, Heist, Isibaya and How to Steal 2 Million.

2.Thespian Shaleen Surtie-Richards

Thespian Shaleen Surtie-Richards died in her sleep on June, 7, 2021. She was 66. Before making her television breakthrough, Surtie-Richards took many roles in several amateur stage productions between 1974 and 1981. Surtie-Richards became a household name through her starring role in Egoli: Place of Gold. She appeared in most of the show’s 18-year run as Ester (Nenna) Willemse.

She also appeared in several television programmes, including 7de Laan, Villa Rosa, and Generations. In 2000, she hosted her own talk show, Shaleen, on South Africa’s M-Net channel


3.Shona Ferguson

Aaron Arthur Ferguson, professionally known as Shona Ferguson, was a Botswana-born actor who found fame in South Africa. Ferguson was the executive producer and co-founder of Ferguson Films, alongside his wife, Connie Ferguson.

Shona, together with his wife veteran actress Connie Ferguson launched their production company Ferguson Films in 2010.

The company which is dominating the local television and film industry went on to produce hit shows including Rockville, iGazi, The Wild, The Throne, The Queen, The River and The Imposter.

His last production “Kings of Joburg” recently bagged three international awards at this year’s Hollywood and African Prestigious (HAPA) Awards held in Los Angeles in October.

Shona won the ’Best Lead In a TV Series’ while Cindy Mahlangu scooped the’ Best Supporting Actress’ accolade, and the show itself was named the Best Series in Africa.

4.Lindiwe Ndlovu

Multifaceted actress Lindiwe Ndlovu died in her sleep on January 11, 2021. Ndlovu’s greatest achievement was receiving a SAFTA Award for best actress in a feature film in 2013 ’Little One’ which was presented to her by US actor Samuel L Jackson.

Ndlovu launched her television acting career in 2011 when she played the role of Qondi in the Mzansi television serial Mazinyo Dot Q. In the same year, she made her film debut in the iconic film Winnie Mandela. She also featured in local shows including Ses’Top La, Stokvel, Uzalo,Soul City, Scandal!, Isidingo and Home Affairs. She also starred in Zabalaza, Lockdown and Ifalakhe. Before her untimely death, she was set to join the cast of the DStv telenovela, Isono.

5.Luzuko Nteleko

Muvhango’ actor Luzuko Nteleko lost his battle with brain cancer on June 21, 2021. Nteleko was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer in 2019.

Nteleko starred in various TV shows including Streets of Mangaung, Mfolozi Street, Isidingo, “Keeping Score, Ring of Lies, Single Galz, and Tempy Tempy Pushas.

In 2018, he starred in the LGBTQ US drama series About Him. His final television appearance came through the Mzansi political serial Ambitions with the role of Wandile Cibane.

6.Noxolo Maqashalala

Noxolo was a household name in the entertainment industry in South Africa. She was one of the most well-known soapie actors on the country’s television.

Maqashalala appeared in the SABC 1 shows Generations, Binnelanders, Dream World and Intersexions, the SABC 2 show Gauteng Maboneng, and’s Rhythm City, Easy Money, Mzansi Love and The Kingdom – uKhakhayi.

Noxolo was found dead in her Johannesburg home on March 12, 2021.

7.Sam Phillips

Celebrated actor, director, producer, writer, and music composer Sam Phillips died,72, died on January, 16, 2021.

With a career spanning over four decades, Philips starred in well-known productions including Phamokate, Backstage, Soul City, The Wild, and Isibaya.

He has also featured in international plays like Athol Fugard’s Master Herold and The Boys in New Orleans.

He was an Oscar nominee for playing the lead in Senzeni na?, which was nominated for Best Short Story with the American Film Institution in 1990.

He also worked as a producer for Nna Sajene Kokobela and 102 Paradise Complex and composed music for 102 Paradise Complex, which was sung by Brenda Fassie.

Phillips wrote the lyrics for the feature Bopha!, directed by Morgan Freeman.

One of his latest notable roles was his character as the Masire family patriarch in the multi-award-winning Netflix series Kings Of Joburg.

Source: Tsa Mzansi

8.Nokuzola Mlengana

Skeem Saam actress Nokuzola Mlengana passed away on July 12, 2021. She joined the popular drama in 2014, playing the role of sis Ouma, a no-nonsense security guard, tough on mischievous boys and girls at the Gauteng University. She later moved to Turf University where she continued to ensure safety and security on the premises until her untimely death.

9.Ben Kruger

Veteran actor Ben Kruger died of Covid-19 complications on May 26, 2021. Best known for his role as Oom Okkie in the kykNET soapie Binnelanders, Kruger was 64 years old.

He starred in several TV shows including Zero Tolerance, 7de Laan, Jacob’s Cross”, Silent Witness, Soul Buddyz”, “Riemvasmaak” and “Triptiek”.

He also starred in the 1997 movie Mandela and De Klerk, where he played James Gregory, a former prisoner and later a friend to Nelson Mandela.

Kruger worked in all facets of the industry as a technician, actor and producer. He was writer and head writer for a variety of soapies and wrote hundreds of minutes’ of documentaries which he produced.

He was also a director of The Learning Theatre, an industrial film company.

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10.Themsie Times

On Friday, December 10, South Africa woke up to the sad news of veteran actor Themsie Times’ passing. According to 7de Laan publicity manager Kayleen Bessit, Times, 70 died on Thursday, December 9.

“It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Themsie Times, who played the role of Maria on 7de Laan. She was a phenomenal actress who warmed her way into our viewer’s hearts and homes. Our deepest sympathies to Themsie’s family, friends and fans at large,” read the statement.

Times warmed the times of many South Africans with her role of Maria Zibula. She played for 13 years before she retire in 2016.

She also features in other popular local shows including Yizo Yizo, Isithembiso, Madam & Eve, Isipho and Cry the Beloved Country.

Let’s all never forget our stars and let’s be safe at all times and protect ourselves from Covid-19

May their souls continue to rest in peace.

Thank you for reading.


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