Dumi Masilela was a gifted South African actor, musician and football star in the making.
In his short time in the public eye, Dumi and his talent was a force to be reckoned with.
This is his biography.
Dumi’s Early Family Life
Dumi Masilela was born in Kempton Park on 31 May 1988.
Dumi lived on the East Rand with his parents and his younger siblings.
Dumi’s career started in his mid-teens, when as a 16-year-old, he was awarded a sports bursary from the University of Pretoria. This saw him join the University’s sports academy.
In 2008, at only 18-years-old, Dumi’s talent was recognised and rewarded with a three-year football contract with the PSL team SuperSport United.
After signing the contract, and settling in with his football team, Dumi was involved in a car accident, where he suffered a career-ending double fracture to one of his leg’s.
He was hospitalised for three months and for two years, Dumi underwent intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
It was during his recovery period that Dumi rekindled his passion for music, even learning how to play the piano. This is what motivated him to take the next step in his music career.
In 2012, Dumi decided to enter South Africa’s biggest reality competition, Idols SA. And this is when he showed Mzansi exactly why he is a star. With his talent and on-stage presence, Dumi made it through to the Top 18.
Even though he wasn’t crowned the idol at the end of the season, Dumi did enough to get himself noticed by talent scouts. He received a call from the producers of the e.TV soapie Rhythm City, who wanted him to audition for one of their characters Sifiso Ngema.
With no formal acting experience, Dumi nailed the audition, making him one of the soapie’s exciting new stars.
After Dumi’s passing, the producers of Rhythm City decided to let life imitate art. After speaking to his family, it was decided that Dumi’s onscreen character Sifiso will be killed off, in a hijacking.
Although the hijacking wasn’t shown on screen, the characters delivered a beautiful memorial to Sifiso, which was also the soapie’s way of saying goodbye to Dumi.
The onscreen memorial also featured Dumi’s mother Sabatha Masilela and his brother as some of the mourners at the memorial service to Sifiso.
Not forgetting his love for music, in 2016 Dumi released the song Shona Phansi as a dedication to his wife.
He was also the co-founder of Appleseed Productions, with his business partner Thato Mabaso. Very excited about the moves he was making for his career, Dumi said in an interview that the production company will focus on TV series, movies and events and artist management.
In 2014, Dumi started dating fellow actress Simphiwe Ngema, well-known for her role in the soapies Muvhango, Isidingo and The Queen.
The couple have always been private about their relationship. In fact, it was a month after their wedding ceremonies that they broke the news themselves, by sharing the pictures of their big day on social media.
Dumi and Simphiwe tied the knot in May 2017, just three months before his untimely passing.
Dumi’s Death And Funeral
In August 2017, Dumi and his friend and fellow actor Bongani Khumalo were in Tembisa, when they were involved in a botched hijacking.
After suffering a gunshot wound, Bongani rushed Dumi to a hospital, where he died.
Dumi’s father passed away a year earlier, making Dumi’s death very hard on his family. And after hearing the news of Dumi’s passing, his aunt also died.
Since his passing, his widow Simphiwe has praised her mother-in-law for her strength and support during her grieving process.
Both Dumi’s memorial and funeral service took place in Kempton Park, where hundreds of family, friends and fans came out to show their final respect, and to honour the late actor.
After Dumi’s burial service, his three-ton tombstone was unveiled, with its special feature of being able to rotate.
At a whopping cost of R160 000, the company responsible for this extravagant tombstone said they wanted to capture Dumi’s personality and his talent.
Dumi’s widow Simphiwe was determined to keep his legacy alive.
In 2018, she released Dumi’s song Uphushiwe, which he wrote and performed for Simphiwe during their wedding.
She also worked hard to release his album Eternal Crush at the end of 2018. Ahead of the 10-track album’s release, Simphiwe launched a range of T-shirts in Dumi’s honour of his album.
One of the songs on the album is Yena, which is also dedicated to Simphiwe.
Simphiwe also released her own song, Thanda Ngempela, with Bongani Khumalo. The song, which she dedicated to Dumi, is also her way of letting go of the pain and preparing for the new journey of her life.
The Germiston Theatre also announced that they were renaming their building in honour of Dumi.
One of Dumi’s closest friends, Skeem Saam actor Clement Maosa, also joined the Trek4Mandela in 2019, to honour Dumi. This is an annual challenge, where a group of climbers take on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Read more: Isidingo No Longer A Need
Main image credit: All4women