TELEVISION personalities and comedians converged on Durban at the weekend to bid farewell to popular funnyman Mandla "Bongo" Thabethe.
Thabethe, who died last Sunday morning in a motorcycle crash, was buried at the Pinetown cemetery.
Bongo, as he was popularly known after a character in the SABC1 comedy Family Bonds, was also a member of the Sopranos Biking Club, which is involved in charity events.
Thabethe was depicted as a humble man at his funeral on Saturday.
Speaker after speaker described him as a "loving and humorous" person.
Actor Ndumiso Dlamini, who played Themba in Family Bonds, said: "Death has held back a laugh from more than 10 million South Africans. But we thank God for giving us time to share with Bongo, though it was short. Bongo's legacy will live on as he was the most honest person I ever met."
He said Thabethe was an adventurous person who lived with snakes, and bought a bike that "finally took his life".
"By producing Family Bonds he wanted to preserve our Zulu heritage," Dlamini said.
Another cast member, Thabo "Steve" Mnguni, described Thabethe as a "good citizen and an honest man".
Bongo was not only popular in this country. Lesego Motsumi, minister in the office of Botswana President Ian Khama, said: "Bongo was a vibrant and good-hearted man. I feel angry with the Lord for taking him away from us. In Botswana people enjoyed his charm and he will be sorely missed."
Close friend Johan Sibiya from Mpumalanga said Thabethe had already written a script for a comedy that was to have been shot in the province. He challenged the SABC to put together a DVD for Family Bonds so that all the money made out of it can be handed to his family.
"We are saddened by the fact that actors work so hard, but die poor. This must not happen to Thabethe's family," Sibiya said.
Sopranos Club president Moraka Mokoka, said: "My interaction with him was short but sweet. It's a pity that the bike that brought us together is the same bike that tragically separated us."