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By Citizen Reporter


Tribute to those lost in 2020

Fallen legends whose life and death have had a great impact in the world.

The daunting year that was 2020 claimed the lives of many respected leaders, entertainers, role-models and some of the best actors, both locally and internationally.

Many of these fallen heroes were victims of the coronavirus pandemic, while others were victims of injustice.

The Citizen pays tribute to those who have passed away in 2020;

Dawn Lindberg

Founder and CEO of the Naledi Theatre Awards, Dawn Lindberg, passed on in December. Lindberg, from the husband-and-wife singing duo Des & Dawn, died from Covid-19 complications aged 75.

Theatre legend, Lindberg achieved a diploma in stage design, art history and English in Italy.

Together with her husband Des Lindberg, she enjoyed a long and successful career as entertainer. They will be remembered for their hit song The Seagull’s Name was Nelson in 1971, which topped the charts for 20 weeks.


South African Kwaito star Nomasonto Maswanganyi, better known as Mshoza, passed away on 18 November 2020.

A close family friend confirmed that Mshoza died due to Covid-19 complications, accompanied by complications with diabetes.

The controversial musician is known for the hit song Kortes, featuring Mzambiya.

Some of her career highlights included the lead role she played in Sarafina. Between 1995 and 1996, she also joined a choir and became its lead singer. She danced for the legendary Chiskop between 1998 and 1999.

25 Nov 2020 – The late Nomasonto ‘Mshoza’ Maswanganyi’s friends gathered to celebrate her life in a memorial service at Bassline in Newtown in Johannesburg | Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Thandeka Mdeliswa

South African actress Thandeka Mdeliswa was gunned down in Mpumalanga on 3 Sept 2020. She died days later, on 5 Sept 2020.

Mdeliswa’s  family confirmed that her shooting was an act of gender-based violence. Her murderer has yet to be charged.

She was best known for her starring role as Khanya in the SABC1 drama series iKani. Khanya is a young artist who finds out that she is from an isiNdebele family despite being brought up by her aunt as a Zulu.

However, her first television role came back in 2013 when she starred in an episode of the e.tv drama anthology series eKasi: Our Stories.

Actress Thandeka Mdeliswa, Image: Twitter

Bob Mabena

Veteran radio DJ Bob Mabena died at the age of 51 from cardiac arrest, on 10 August 2020.

Mabena is known for having worked in radio for 30 years. He has worked for radio stations including Metro FM, Highveld Stereo and Kaya FM.

He has also worked at MSG Afrika as station manager of Power 98.7 and hosted the Power Breakfast Show.

He was the founder of the Bob K Mabena Foundation, a nonprofit organisation to bridge the gap between more affluent children and those in townships.

Mary Twala

Veteran actress Mary Twala died at the age of 80 on 4 July 2020. She is the mother of media personality Somizi Mhlongo-Mohale.

Twala is known for her various roles in many local productions, and was cast as a guest in the first season of Generations. In 2007, she starred in local drama, Ubizo: The Calling and in 2010, she played a support role in Hopeville, which won numerous awards at several festivals and award ceremonies across the continent.

Her role in the “Ma Dolly” film earned her a best supporting actress nomination at the 6th Africa Movie Academy Awards.

In April 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa bestowed the 2019 National Orders Awards, where she was one of the recipients of the Order of Ikhamanga, which recognises those who’ve excelled and made decades of contributions in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism, and sport.

Actress Mary Twala and President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Twitter, @FikileMbalula

Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane

South African Ambassador to Denmark Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane died on 13 July 2020.

Mandela-Hlongwane tested positive the day she passed on. This was confirmed by her son Zondwa Mandela.

Mandela-Hlongwane was the youngest daughter of former president Nelson Mandela and his second wife, Winnie Mandela.

She was a South African politician who was serving as her country’s first and only ambassador to Denmark in 2014 and was also a published poet with works featured in Black as I Am (1978), Somehow We Survive: An Anthology of South African Writing and Daughters of Africa.

A look at some of the international stars we’ve lost in 2020

Sean Connery

The well-known actor Sean Connery died on 31 October 2020 after suffering from atrial fibrillation – an irregular, often rapid heart rate, that can cause poor blood flow – old age and pneumonia.

His big break came by starring as Bond in 1962’s “Dr. No”. Connery is known for winning numerous awards during his decades-spanning career, including an Oscar, three Golden Globes and two British Academy Film Awards.

Former James Bond actor Sean Connery dies aged 90.
Picture: Supplied

Chadwick Bosman

Black Panther star and lead actor, Chadwick Boseman died on 28 August after a four -year battle with colon cancer.

The actor started his career in shows such as Third Watch and All My Children before rising to notoriety when he starred in 42, playing baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

Boseman appeared as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War in 2016 and then in 2018 took the lead in Black Panther, which was set in the fictional country of Wakanda.

In 2019 the actor paid tribute to Washington in a moving speech at The American Film Institute for the Afi Life Achievement Award.

In his tribute Boseman said: “There was no Black Panther without Denzel Washington. And not just because of me. My whole cast, that generation, stands on your shoulders.”

Naya Rivera

The Glee actress was found dead on 13 July, five days after she went missing while boating with her 4-year-old son, Josey Dorsey (whom she shared with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey).

The actress was best known for her role as the feisty cheerleader Santana Lopez on the Fox television series Glee, as actress/singer. She also pursued a solo singing career.

Rivera released her first single “Sorry,” off her debut album 2014. The poppy track features her real-life rapper boyfriend Big Sean.

Irrfan Khan

In 2018, he was diagnosed with a tumour for which he received treatment. However, in 2020, he was diagnosed with a colon infection and passed away on 29 April in Mumbai.

Irrfan Khan was one of the finest stars in Bollywood. Not only was he part of several Bollywood films but also starred in a number of Hollywood projects. He was last seen in .

George Floyd

On 25 May, America’s George Floyd was arrested by United States Minneapolis police officers.

The unarmed black man died after a police officer was seen pressing his knee on the his neck while he was handcuffed. The officer held his knee on Floyds neck for nearly nine minutes until he was unconscious.

His death stirred up the movement “Black Lives Matter” worldwide in response to police brutality against black people.

ALSO READ: ‘Burn down racism’: World rallies against George Floyd’s death

(Compiled by Sonri Naidoo) 

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