Beauty queen and veteran TV star Michelle Molatlou dies

Former Miss Black South Africa, TV presenter and actress Michelle Molatlou has died.

Family spokesman and Molatlou's brother Kgosi Monye said the 44-year-old died yesterday at a hospital in Bloemfontein.

"Michelle was surrounded by lots of love with family and friends.

"She succumbed to her battle with cervical cancer at the National Hospital in Bloemfontein," Monye said in a statement.

"Michelle was a consummate professional, a loving mother to her two sons, a loving child to her parents, siblings and a good friend to many.

"She had drawn her inspiration from different people and situations to be the person she was. She was a hard worker and very passionate about charity work and absolutely loved working with the youth," Monye said.

Molatlou was the last Miss Black South Africa before the pageant was discontinued. She went on to become a TV presenter on SABC2's magazine show Mamepe, and an actress on a number of productions including Kgalelo Pelo, In the Name of Love, Mokgonyana Matswale and most recently Generations: The Legacy.

Her other recent TV shows were on Mzansi Magic's Lokshin Bioscope movies.

Old-time friend and fellow Mamepe presenter Shane Phure Maja described her as a fighter who would not allow self-pity.

"I met her in the late '90s. We worked together for the production company for Mamepe and she came into the team after Connie Masilo [now Ferguson] had left the production to go and rejoin Generations.

"We struck up a brotherly and sisterly relationship. She was a fun-loving and God-fearing woman who exuded excellence and embraced the broadcasting space with so much influence on young people.

"Everywhere we went, be it overseas or on the continent, whether covering weddings or mastering ceremonies, she commanded a huge level of respect and she was a source of inspiration to so many young people and mostly young girls," Maja said.

He said Molatlou was also very protective of her family.

Shane Maja and Michelle Molatlou at the relaunch of 'Mamepe'. / MBUZENI ZULU
Shane Maja and Michelle Molatlou at the relaunch of 'Mamepe'. / MBUZENI ZULU

"When she got married she focused on her family and loved her sons dearly. She [loved and protected]her mother and sister. She literally raised her younger sister."

Molatlou made her last big acting appearance on Generations in November last year. The soapie's spokeswoman Gaaratwe Mokhethi commented: "She was a very warm person and very chilled. It's a major loss to the industry. It's a very sad day. May the family be comforted."

Mokhethi said Molatlou's space at the popular soapie was always open as her role of a client at one of the media houses on the show appeared every now and then.

Fans and friends also took to social media to express their shock. Designer Ephraim Molingoana said he was saddened by her death.

"I was with her not long ago and she was bubbly and happy. I showed her an old photo of myself, Lebo Mathosa and her and we had a good laugh as we went down memory lane. We are losing so many of the people we grew up with. She was young and dynamic..."

Socialite Sonia Motaung said: "My friend of over 25 years, [we're] heartbroken about your passing; may you have eternal rest Tshegofatso Michelle Molatlou."

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