South African Celebrities Who Died

We lost some great ones along the way

By  | Apr 13, 2022, 03:15 PM  | Bob Mabena  | Top of The

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We all feel it, the loss and heaviness that has rocked Mzansi in the past few years is a lot to deal with. Both the music and the entertainment industries have been affected in such a huge way and experienced massive losses. In addition to dealing with the reality of a worldwide pandemic, we have had to deal with the loss of both livelihoods and loved ones. 

Along the way we have lost some of our most loved ZAlebs and therefore this article will highlight and honor South African celebrities who died in 2020.

Joseph Shabalala

Joseph Shabalala, the singer and founder of the Grammy award winning choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo died on the 11th of February and became the first name on the list of South African celebrities who died in 2020. The musician worked hard to propel Ladysmith Black Mambazo to worldwide fame and worked with collaborators such as Paul Simon on the album Graceland. The group has won a total of five Grammy's and his death was mourned by the music fraternity across the nation.

Picture source:

Mary Twala

With a career spanning over 60 years, Mary Kuksie Twala joined the list of South African celebrities that died in 2020 when she lost her battle against COVID-19 on the 4th of July. The veteran actress was the mother of one of Mzansi’s fav personalities Somizi Mhlongo. Although she was loved and respected across the world, her funeral ceremony only had 50 family and friends in attendance due to the covid restrictions at the time.

Mary Twala had a heavy belt of accomplishments to her name such as receiving the South Africa Order of Ikhamanga Silver Award for her contribution to the arts industry and working with international sensation Beyonce.

Picture source: @sdozag Instagram

Bob Mabena

Broadcasting legend Bob Mabena joined the list of South African celebrities who died in 2020 when he suffered a cardiac arrest in August of the same year. Mabena began his career in broadcasting back in 1989 and worked for several media outlets such as Metro FM, Heart FM, 947 and SABC.

The radio presenter mentored and paved the way for some of our fav radio personalities and his sudden demise sent shock waves across the industry. Bob left behind two children from his marriages and an alleged 6 from past lovers.

Picture source: @mabenabob Instagram


Nomasonto Maswanganyi who was better known by her stage alias Mshoza is another name on the list of South African celebrities who died in 2020. The kwaito godmother has been a household name since she broke into the industry at only 15 years old. In addition to being an extremely talented musician, Mshoza was also a dancer, motivational speaker and tried her hand at acting.

Fondly known in the industry as the kwaito godmother, Mshoza unfortunately died in November 2020 after succumbing to complications from diabetes.

Picture source: mshoza_thegodmother Instagram

Although these are the five we have highlighted, there were many other celebs who died in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Mzanzi lost legends such as award-winning actor and producer Shona Ferguson, anti-Aparthied activist and South Africa’s ‘moral compass’, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, hip hop legend Riky Rick, amapiano sensations Mpura and Killa Kau and Sindi Buthelezi, Tsha Tsha star Noxolo Maqashalala, Real Housewives Of Johannesburg star Naledi Willers gospel musician Israel Mosehlaand the fabulous Shaleen Surtie-Richards, DJ Dimples and many more. Our hearts are sore and go out to their families and loved ones.

May they continue to rest in peace.
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