The late actor and producer Aaron Arthur “Shona” Ferguson’s memorial was held on Friday two days after he was laid to rest in Johannesburg.
Actor Sello Maake Ka-Ncube was the programme director of the service and said Shona’s death hit him hard.
Videos and snippets recordings of the actor’s best TV career moments in television were played. Highlighting his roles in Netflix’s King of Joburg, detective Jerry Maake on The Queen, JB’ Bogatsu on Rockville and Itumeleng Tladi on The Wild.
Speakers included DJ Fresh and actresses Gail Mabalane, Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa and Zandile Msutwana. Affectionately known as Mr Sho, or Uncle Sho to many of his colleagues, friends and family referred to him as such.
Wife, Connie Ferguson detailed the day they met 20 years ago, a time where she “had given up on love”.
Connie said she was drawn to Shona’s laughter and he was wearing a baggy suit when they met.
“He turned around. Our eyes locked at that moment and he gave me the best smile. All I saw was this radiant smile,” she said.
Shaking, she shared one of the messages Shona sent to her on 22 April 2017. It detailed how Connie asked for his number, them kissing on the third day of dating and how his messages would make her day.
“I am not crying today, I will cry later. Today I chose to celebrate my husband, I chose to celebrate a giant. My husband was a showman, not a show-off but a showman.”
Adding that she missed him terribly, she said: “My biggest trouble is hoping to see him every morning,” but said Shona’s legacy is Ferguson Films and it will continue growing strong.
Ka-Ncube worked with the Fergusons on the Mzansi Magic telenovela, he said many cherished Connie’s and Shona’s relationship.
Quoting the 1992 film Scent of a Women with Al Pacino, “There is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit, there is no prosthetic for that. For me there is no sight without Shona, there is nothing like a sight with the creative like Shona, there is no substitute for him… There is none like him.”
There were also messages by the crew and childhood friend Thato “DJ Fresh” Sikwane.
He said he was asked to speak at Shona’s memorial and thought he wasn’t “qualified” to give his parting message.
“The reason I didn’t kick and scream is that 99% of people watching this now only know the Shona of the last five, 10, 20 years. There’s still the boy a lot of you don’t know about.”
Fresh said Shona was “memorable” despite what a casting director told him once during an audition. The former radio host says their childhood was filled with adventure and outdoor activities in Botswana.
“In the Ferguson house, there were movies everywhere.. I am not surprised that Shona ended up making movies.”
Fresh says Shona’s many nicknames included Shokes.
“Shona was always a party, he loved to dance at least that is what we used to call it at that time.
“What is important for us is to celebrate his life because to him life was a celebration… We love you dearly, rest in peace and stay memorable.”
Rockville actor Mabalane said while filming the last season of the show, she told Shona that “he wears God so well”.
The biggest lesson she learnt from the Fergusons was that it was never about them as actors.
“The industry, the fame, the platform, was never about us, it is what God does in and through us… To look at Mr Sho’s life, look at what the Lord has done. He opened up himself to be used by God, to me that is power.”
Enhle Mbali was quite emotional sharing her words, saying she was very appreciative of Shona for giving her the opportunity to act again.
“Mr Sho was the most giving and praying person I have ever met… He was love, the light as God himself, he was an image of the Lord.”
Watch the full memorial below
Shona passed away due to Covid-19 complications on 31 July and his death is still being met with disbelief. During his funeral, his wife actress Connie Ferguson said she never thought she would be speaking at her husband’s funeral.
“I thought you and I were going to grow old together. That is what I saw for myself, that is what I saw for us. That has always been the dream.
On Thursday Connie thanked the public for their “outpouring of love, words of comfort and prayers. My family and I appreciate you. God bless you all”.
“To my ANGEL SHO, thank you for the best 20 years of my life! I love you and know that you are with us in spirit.❤️ One day we’ll be reunited, and all the angels in heaven will rejoice,” she wrote on Instagram.
Ferguson’s daughter, 18-year-old Alicia, said her dad motivated and encouraged her, helping her break out of her shell.
“He had no doubt that whatever I do, I was going to succeed.”
Holding back the tears, she added: “I am making him a promise, no matter what comes, what goes, I will always carry on his legacy. I will make him and my family proud.”