A funeral service for veteran actress Mary Twala will be held in Soweto on Thursday, after her death in a Johannesburg hospital over the weekend.
Mary died on Saturday at Netcare Park Lane Hospital in Johannesburg at the age of 80. She had been in and out of the hospital for several months and struggled with diabetes.
Thousands of friends and fans have flooded social media with tributes to the star over the last few days but the Covid-19 pandemic has limited attendance at the funeral to strictly 50 people.
“Due to the current global pandemic of Covid-19, the funeral will adhere to the current national funeral restrictions of only 50 attendees allowed, together with the necessary health protocols being observed. No members of the public may attend the funeral,” a statement from the family read.
The service will be held at Grace Bible Church in Soweto, and will be streamed on several platforms, including her son Somizi Mhlongo’s Twitter account.
Fans and friends, including some well-known celebrities who will not be in attendance today, have been asked to send messages to the family via WhatsApp.
Mary was known for her roles in several high-profile film, TV and theatre productions, spanning a career of over 60 years.
She has starred in, among others, Sarafina!, Deliwe, Taxi to Soweto, Undenzani Melwane, Iqhawe, Hlala Kwabafileyo, Soul Buddyz, Child Of Soweto, Khululeka, Yizo-Yizo, SOS and Muvhango.
Earlier this year an emotional Mary attended Somizi and Mohale’s wedding, where she gave her blessing to the union and shared how proud she was of Somizi.
The Idols SA star was on his way to the hospital when he got a call from the doctors telling him to hurry because his mother’s health was deteriorating rapidly.
Somizi was devastated by her death and, taking to Twitter, he wrote: “The tree has fallen. I’m shattered to the core.” He later shared on Instagram several memorable moments he spent with his mother.
Speaking to TshisaLIVE earlier this week, Mary Twala’s granddaughter and family spokesperson, Phumzile Twala, said Mary was “her old self” a day before her death and looked to be making a recovery.
“Doctors said she was up and jolly just 30 minutes before her passing. The doctor told her Somizi was on the way and she was so happy. All of a sudden she slipped away.