Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture, Ms Nocawe Mafu pays tribute to the Legend Mama Mary Twala

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
07 Jul 2020

Pretoria – Tuesday 07 July 2020 -The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has learned with sadness of the passing away of one of a stalwart and legend in the performing Arts industry (Ms Mary Twala) who passed on at the age of 80years.

The Department and Ministry take this opportunity to send its heartfelt condolences to uMama Mary’s son Somizi, family and friends and pray that they find comfort in the Lord during these difficult times.

“uMama Mary’s death reverberates like the sound of a giant that has fallen, even though she was small in stature she somehow packed a punch when it comes to performing Arts. A legend of note, a master in her craft, trailblazer and a pioneer for all women in the performing Arts environment. She has indeed paved the way for the younger generation of women in an industry that is still biased towards men. She demonstrated that if you work with dedication, discipline and passion in your craft, you are bound to go extremely and respect will then follow. She broke the barriers of stereotypes that women of a certain age have a sell by date in the film industry” – Indicated Deputy Minister Nocawe Mafu.

Deputy Minister Nocawe Mafu further indicated the following, “While we will miss her dedication and passion for her craft which has contributed in paving the way for future generations of women, uMama Mary Twala’s legacy will live on through the invaluable contributions she made to the performing arts”

The Department of Sport Arts and Culture dares not to forget Mama Mary Twala. Hers is a story that is integral to our nation’s identity. May her life story be a powerful influence in generating a new future for the women of this country, while shifting the narrative that ours is a liberation won on the struggle of men alone, because women like her lived and soldiered on against all odds with the objective of opening the doors for generation of women to come.

Mary Twala remain one of South Africa’s treasures, she was bestowed the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver by President Ramaphosa back in 2019. The award is given to South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism or sport. She spent more than 60 years in the creative industry doing what she loved most, acting.

She was also nominated in 2011 for an Africa Movie Academy Award as Best Actress in a supporting role and won the SAFTA’s Best Actress Award in a Television comedy for her role in Skwiza in 2015.  Her passing is a huge loss for the industry as she proved herself as a gifted actress and dedicated her life to the creative industry.

We offer our condolences to her immediate family, friends, the acting fraternity, fans and followers in the country and beyond. We have lost an icon and a legendary actress, but her legacy will live through her contribution in the Film, Television and Performing arts sectors.  May her soul rest in peace.  

Phumla ngoxolo Mama Twala, ugqatso ulufezile,

Rest in eternal peace.


Media enquiries:

Ms Zimasa Velaphi Chief Director Communications and Marketing:  Sports, Arts and Culture: Mobile: 072 172 8925, Email:

Mickey Modisane (Chief Director) Communications and Marketing: Sport, Arts and Culture: Mobile: 082 992 0101, Email:

Issued by the Department of Sport, Arts & Culture