'Stars expire, artists live forever': Fitting final farewell for Mary Twala
“We did not see you close your eyes or hear your last faint sigh. We only heard you had gone, too late to say goodbye. Too late to hug you and let you know how much we love you.”
Those were the words shared by Zanele Twala at the emotionally-charged funeral of her older sister, veteran actress Mary Twala at Grace Bible Church in Soweto on Thursday.
Speaking at the start of the service, master of ceremonies Andile Ncube called the Covid-19 pandemic a “thief of love”, but said Mary's contribution to the entertainment industry and the lives of those she touched would fill more than just the hall.
“The 50 people around you are not a reflection of the momentous giant we are gathered here to honour,” he said.
Covid-19 restrictions limited attendance at the funeral to strictly 50 people, with mourners sitting more than one metre away from each other in a large hall. The service was also limited to one hour.
Fans and friends, including some well-known celebrities who were not in attendance at the funeral because of the restrictions, sent messages.
Tributes from Kenneth Nkosi, Jerry Mofokeng, Rapulana Seiphemo, Connie Chiume, Presley Chweneyagae, were included in a short video played at the service.
“Stars expire, artists live forever. May her soul rest in peace,” Jerry said in his message.
Gospel star Rebecca Malope also left many in tears with a heart-wrenching musical tribute to Mary.
Mary's granddaughter, actress Bahumi broke down in tears as she spoke of her grandmother's life and the legacy she's left behind.
Another granddaughter, Phumzile, said the star loved to spend time with her family, and that she would miss their constant conversations.
“We will no longer hear 'Oh my beautiful. Oh my darling, you look so beautiful', but that will stay with us ... we love you Ma.”
Mary's son, TV and radio personality Somizi Mhlongo, had to be assisted as he viewed his mother's coffin, and was supported by his husband Mohale.
Somizi told mourners that he had dreaded the day he would have to bury his mother, and was now heartbroken that it had come.
“I am not sad because my mother is gone but because the umbilical cord has been cut completely. I am so at peace with what my mother has achieved. She has seen me walk down the aisle, she has seen her granddaughters.
“I know I have lost a mother on earth but gained the most powerful ancestor. Don't be surprised if I rise beyond because I have the most generous ancestor ... I promise to never make you an angry ancestor. Thank you for everything. I love you.”