Death came way too soon for rising star Sibusiso Khwinana

The last time I saw Sibusiso Khwinana, the "Matwetwe" actor and his co-star Tebatso Mashishi had come to The Star building in Johannesburg to shoot pictures for a cover story. 

Against a luminous green wall, he made funny faces as he stood behind actor/rapper Mashishi, who dropped a hot 16, while photographer Bhekikhaya Mabaso snapped away.  It seemed, in that moment, that Khwinana was content to stand back and support others in the spotlight.

The Soshanguve-raised actor said he was thrilled about the success of "Matwetwe," Kagiso Lediga’s brilliant hood tale shot in Atteridgeville, but that watching Lediga had given him fuel to pursue his true passion – directing – more passionately.

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Sibusiso Khwinana and his co-star Tebatso Mashishi. Picture: African News Agency/ANA

In 2018 and as a director, Khwinana took a play to the National Arts Festival in Makhanda (Grahamstown), where he received the Ovation Award.

On Friday, at a Matwetwe screening at Sterland in Pretoria, Khwinana was reportedly stabbed by a cellphone thief and died. He was just 25. Tributes to him have poured in on social media and Matwetwe executive producer, Black Coffee, tweeted: “What a loss!!!! How long will it take for us to realize we have a crime problem as country, how many people must die before we do something… (sic)”

During an interview ahead of "Matwetwe"’s premiere, I asked the co-stars what three things they hoped 2019 would bring them. “The first thing is to do well at school,” Khwinana said. “I want to impress my parents and my family.

“The second thing I want for 2019 is to take my craft to another level – in both theatre and film. It was an honour to get an Ovation Award in Grahamstown last year, so this year I have to take it to the next level.

“I also facilitate and teach drama at the State Theatre so the third thing I want for 2019 is to see the people I groom doing great!”

Gone too soon.


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