News of his death began filtering through after his nephew Anthony Mafela announced it on Twitter on Sunday morning.
“Sad news … My Uncle Joe Mafela passed on last night,” Anthony said in his tweet.
The news was later confirmed by Lillian Dube who told eNCA on Sunday morning that Mafela had been involved in a car accident in Marlboro, Gauteng, on Saturday night.
Further details are not known at this stage, but reports suggest the accident took place at about 10pm last night on the M1 North between the Oxford Road and Houghton Road off-ramp.
Mafela had an illustrious career, having begun acting in movies at the age of 22. He starred in the country’s first black movie, Udeliwe, in 1974.
Mafela is well known for his ’80s role as S’dumo in isiZulu comedy S’gudi Snaysi. He also owned production company Penguin Films, was the face of Chicken Licken and even had a stint in advertising as creative director of black communications at BBDO SA as well as a director at Sharrer Advertising.
Mafela was also a musician, and in 1996 released his hit track Shebeleza, which further etched his name in the hearts of South Africans.
In 2015 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Comics Choice Awards.
Most recently Mafela starred as Tebogo Moroka in Generations: The Legacy.
— South African Gov (@GovernmentZA) March 19, 2017
— Anthony Mafela (@zaaibooconcepts) March 19, 2017
— IG:mopabi89 (@RealManPee) March 19, 2017
In memoriam Joe Mafela (1942-2017) pic.twitter.com/InVG2cuRgR
— AC Fick (@acfick72) March 19, 2017