Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
6 Jun 2016
4:44 pm

The curious case of the ‘Emzini Wezinsizwa’ curse

Citizen Reporter

Four actors who made up the main cast of 'Emzini Wezinsizwa' have died since July last year.

The cast of Emzini Wezinsizwa.

You may have not been around when the original 1980s American horror trilogy Poltergeist was released, but chances are you’ve caught bits of it on TV during a depressingly quiet Saturday night in.

Poltergeist became a cult classic not only because of its genuinely terrifying scenes, but because of an alleged curse that followed its cast and crew.

Four members of the cast all died within the six years following the release of the first film, with one of them being murdered by her ex-boyfriend. We could be reaching, but it seems one of the country’s most beloved sitcoms, Emzini Wezinsizwa, has a similarly dark cloud hanging over its legacy.

On Sunday, South Africa woke up to devastating news: another member of the “loom eight” gang, Nyembezi Kunene, had passed on.

Nyembezi Kunene (Photo by Gallo Images/Drum/Natalie Payne)

Nyembezi Kunene. Photo: Gallo Images/Drum/Natalie Payne

Kunene, who played authoritarian hostel security guard Mchunu, died after a long battle with diabetes and became the fourth member of the sitcom’s seven-member cast to die in less than a year.

Shadrack Ngema, who played traditional healer Magubane, died from heart-related complications in December last year. He was 65.

Two months earlier, 74-year-old Roland Mqwebu (Mkhize in the sitcom) died in a Durban hospital after his kidneys gave in.

Bafana Mlangeni, who played the drunken snitch Sibeko, died a little over a month before Mqwebu in a Soweto hospital after also having suffered from diabetes.

Bafana Mlangeni. Picture:

Bafana Mlangeni. Picture:

The passing of all these great comedic actors could be entirely coincidental, but the proximity of their deaths leaves a lot to the imagination.

We can at least find solace in the remaining three cast members, Jerry Phele (Mofokeng), Jabulani Nkosi (Chirwali) and Vusi Thanda (Tshawe) enjoying good health.