The former YO.TV presenter and Tempy Pushas actor, Akhumzi Jezile (29), Thobani Mseleni, Siyasanga Kobese and two other colleagues died yesterday morning on the spot in a horrific car accident.
According to police spokesperson Captain Namhla Mdleleni, 5 people died in the horrific car accident on the N6 near Queenstown in Eastern Cape early Saturday morning.
Mdleleni could not confirm the names of those that died in the crash but told Channel24 that a case of culpable homicide has been opened.
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and entertainment writer Phil Mphela both confirmed the news on social media.
“We're saddened to hear the news of the tragic and sudden passing of multi-talented actor, producer, TV & radio presenter, Akhumzi Jezile. We'll miss his exhilarating energy, passion & appreciation of Africa culture, which inspired him to learn most of our languages,” tweeted Minister Mthethwa.
Jezile’s booking agent, Pamela Rose, confirmed the news to Channel24. When asked if the rumours from Twitter were true, Rose replied; “Yes, it is true”.
Representatives for the other occupants in the car, of which two others are also believed to be well-known local TV personalities, could not be reached by time of publication. So far there's been no statement from the SABC.
Muvhango spokesperson Amanda Ngundle confirmed the deaths and said it was a sad moment for the TV entertainment industry.
"Five people died, but I cannot name the actors as it is still early days; we don't know it their families have been informed yet," Ngudle said.
While Jezile was more known as a presenter and producer, actress Kobese was also a singer and had a stint with gospel super group Joyous Celebration.
Siyasanga Kobese was best known to television viewers for her role as Siphokazi in the Mzansi Magic soap opera Zabalaza and had a recurring minor role in the Mzansi Magic telenovela iNkaba.
Jezile, 29, who first shot to fame as YoTV presenter in 2014 won a Best Supporting Actor in a a TV Drama Safta award for his role as Ngulube in Tempy Pushas. Jezile, who was also a producer, was a radio presenter for the SABC radio station Umhlobo Wenene.
Besides appearing as Tsietsi Zwane in the SABC1 comedy-drama series Khululeka Siyavota produced by Penguin Films and his role of Ngulube in SABC1's Tempy Pushas in 2013, he was also a producer on YoTV's The Big Breakfast show.
He replaced Zuluboy (Mxolisi Majozi) in 2016 as the presenter of the SABC1's music variety show Fan Base.
The Department of Arts and Culture late on Saturday night released a statement on Twitter regarding the tragedy.
A brief comment on reports of the devastating loss of 5 young lives in a car accident outside Queenstown in the Lukhanji Municipality in Eastern Cape. A detailed statement will follow in due course. pic.twitter.com/HtheiGQzfw
— Arts & Culture (@ArtsCultureSA) April 28, 2018
Thobani Mseleni was an actor and musician best known for his role as Bhutana in the second season of the SABC1 drama series Intersexions, in 2013.
Originally from Fort Beaufort, Thobani moved to Johannesburg in 2009 to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. He guest starred on several television shows including Generations and Moferefere Lenyalong.
In July 2012 he auditioned for a role on Intersexions and won the part. It was his first major screen acting role.
In 2015 he had a starring role as Bhonyongo, Nontle's older brother who is all brawn and no brain, in the e.tv drama series Matatiele.
South Africa’s arts and culture industry has experienced notable losses this year. Award-winning musician Hugh Masekela lost his battle with prostate cancer in January.
Veteran actor Sandy Mokwena, best known for Bra Eddie on e.tv’s Scandal! died of natural causes in January. Well-known actor David Phetoe died in hospital in February at 85. David was known for his role as Paul Moroka on Generations. Radio personality Chris Matshaba died of cancer in February.