Actor, playwright and theatre director Mncedisi Shabangu who died on Sunday was set to play the new villain on SABC1 telenovela Uzalo.
Shabangu, 53, who died after complaining of chest pains, had landed the role of Mthambisi Phakathi. He was to start shooting on Wednesday July 27. Shabangu’s replacement will be announced soon.
The introduction of Phakathi’s character to the storyline is going to rock Nkunzi’s (played by Masoja Msiza) world big time. Phakathi is a reputable businessman and set to fall in love with Gabisile (played by Baby Cele) who has been having an on and off “thing” with Nkunzi.
Uzalo production said in a statement about the new role: “Mncedisi was going to play a role of a reputable businessman who amassed his wealth through crime. Phakathi always make sure that his dark side is never revealed. He came into our world wanting nothing but revenge from the Magwaza family who took everything from him. He fell in I love with Gabisile bringing friction in Nkunzi’s world.”
The Magwaza family is headed by matriarch Njinji, who is played by seasoned actress Thembi Nyandeni.
Since the news of Shabangu's death broke on Sunday, colleagues and friends have paid tribute to one of the country’s greatest all-rounders.
Shabangu had an established acting profile in stage, film and theatre. In film he acted in Secret Agenda, Ways of Dying, Call Us Crazy, Best Wedding Ever, The Head and The Load.
Television wise, he did shows like The Lab, The Other Woman, Home Sweet Home, Rhythm City, and iNumber Number among others. He further acted in shows like Sizwe Banzi is Dead, Woza Albert, Tshepang, Blood Knot, The Suitcase, Inconvenience of Wings, Jungle Book, and Dream of a Dog. Shabangu was not only an actor, he wrote and directed plays like Wangesheya Wangesheya, The Barbershop, and Vuka Mashele.
Shabangu will be buried on Saturday and the service will be held at Alliance Church of SA in KaNyamazane, Mpumalanga. A memorial service for Gauteng is set to be held next week on Tuesday August 2 at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg.