Tributes for Somizi after iconic mom dies

Condolences have continued to pour in for South African superstar and mega influencer Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung whose mom – Mary Twala – has passed on.

Friends and supporters of Somizi took to social media to express support for Somizi and to pay tribute to his mom, who was a veteran actress and winner of many awards. Somizi took to social media to announce the passing of her mom with six powerful words.

“My tree has fallen… lala Ma,” wrote Somizi.

Twala, 80, was widely respected as a star film and stage actress.

Somizi’s announcement elicited an instant outpouring of condolences from South Africans on social media.

South African theatre great John Kani was among the first to respond.

In his tribute, Kani said: “Somizi this day the arts community celebrates the life of a great lady. We pay tribute to a life well lived. Mary Twala, Order of Ikhamanga Silver Recipient, her legacy will-live forever in all of us. RIP my dear friend. Elder.”

South African Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula offered his condolences to Mhlongo and his family. “May her soul rest in eternal peace…Strength to you, Somizi,” Mbalula said. 

Award-winning actor Presley Chweneyagae said: “R.I.P Ma. I am one of the luckiest actors to have worked with you on the film State of the Violence. Strength to you Somizi and family.”

Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina said South Africa has lost a giant of the arts industry. “We are with you my brother during this trying time,” he said.

Social justice activist and former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, now a professor at Stellenbosch University, said: “A legend in her own right, that was Mama Mary Twala. Your loss is shared by the nation and all art lovers your mom’s work reached,” Madonsela said.

Tendai Biti, the deputy chairperson of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change wrote: “So sorry comrade. So sorry.”

Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu offered her sincerest condolences to Somizi and his family. She added: “May your mother’s memory be eternal.”

Zozibini Tunzi, the reigning Miss Universe said: “Ngxesi (Sorry) Somizi. May she rest in eternal peace.”

Actress Katlego Danke said: “My deepest condolences to you Somizi. Death not be proud. We will cry but we will also celebrate that beautiful infectious energy and spirit she had and the talent shared with the world.”

Another actress Florence Masebe, said Twala was a beacon for many actresses. “She paved the way and continued to lead the pack. I bow,” she said.

Former TV show host Felicia Mabuza-Suttle said: “Your mom has gone to join your dad, Ndaba Mhlongo. I have no doubt Gibson Kente has started a new production of his popular show of the 70s, Sikhalo, in heaven and wants Mary to star in it again with the likes of Busi Mhlongo, Kenny Majozi and more.”