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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


(Pic by Val Adamson: Thami Cele as he appeared in the 2004 Playhouse production of "Asinamali")

Renowned Durban actor Thami “Mshefane” Cele who impressed audiences in South Africa and in other parts of the world, died last week. He was a member of the award-winning musical drama Asinamali, directed by Mbongeni Ngema.

The MEC for Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation, Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha, has appealed to all stakeholders in the music industry to ensure that artists do not die penniless. She was speaking in Clairmont today during her visit to Cele’s family.

“At the time of his death, Cele was instrumental in mentoring young artists in the Clairmont area. Showering praises as artists in Clairmont, we must strive to emulate Cele who left a stamp of excellence in everything he did,” she said.

Expressing her deepest condolences to the family, the MEC described Cele as a revolutionary who used art to fight the apartheid regime. “We are all saddened by his untimely death and his talent will be sorely missed, particularly by the young artists he was mentoring in the township,” she added.

Sibhidla-Saphetha urged artists to work closely with the KwaZulu-Natal Music House, a public entity whose primary mandate is to record and document South African music especially the indigenous music that is representative of the diverse South African cultural heritage.

She also made a call to young artists to utilise government institutions that are tasked to support them if they encounter any challenges. South Africa has seen many famous artists who have died poor and neglected.

The funeral service of Cele will be held at the Assemblies of God and his body will be laid to rest at Ashley Cemetery in Pinetown.

Tribute and funeral date and time to follow.