MacDonald Mathunjwa's daughter details his last days

02 June 2021 - 10:00
By chrizelda kekana AND Chrizelda Kekana
SA is mourning the loss of veteran actor MacDonald Mathunjwa.
Image: Twitter/ Pixel Perfect Productions SA is mourning the loss of veteran actor MacDonald Mathunjwa.

Those close to veteran actor MacDonald Mathunjwa are struggling to come to terms with his “sudden death” due to Covid-19-related complications on Tuesday. 

Describing the events that led to MacDonald's death, his daughter Makwande Mathunjwa told TshisaLIVE that her father started having trouble breathing on Saturday.

My dad started having difficulty breathing late Saturday and was rushed to the doctor on Sunday. The doctor wrote a letter for him to be transferred to the hospital. He was admitted the same day (Sunday) and pronounced deceased midnight today (Tuesday, June 1) due to Covid-19-related issues.”

Speaking to TshisaLIVE, scriptwriter and close friend Cynthia Sedith who was working with MacDonald on what would be his last project, said she was devastated by his death.

The late actor-turned-director was directing a film written by Cynthia called The Chosen, which they partnered on to develop talent in Kwatsaduza.

“I can’t even describe the pain, I’m very sad,” she said.

Cynthia said she met the actor more than a decade ago, as a young 20-year-old who shared her passion for writing stories and scripts with MacDonald. She added that life happened and she went without seeing the legendary actor for many years until they reconnected recently when Cynthia saw him directing another film being shot in Kwa Thema.

“I have a medical background, so I asked for guidance because writing is my passion but I know nothing about this industry. I asked for his help and, after looking at the script for The Chosen, he told me that it needed to be adapted for a film and he would help me bring it to life.”

Even though the initial script was written in 2018, Cynthia and MacDonald only got the ball rolling in December last year. 

“We advertised for actors, then we did casting, then chose actors, and then I told him about my dreams because I see there’s a lot of attention in Soweto but not in the East Rand. We shared the same vision. We wanted to put our side of the town on the map, because we know there's plenty of talented people here as well. We had only recently started with rehearsals and now two weeks into rehearsals he has died.”

Cynthia said she couldn't have imagined that when she saw him last Thursday, that it would be for the last time. She added that she's battling to think about how they would go on without him.

“I now need to find another director for the film. It hit me after the shock wore off a little and the actors were calling, asking what will happen now. But I told them that we needed to wait until he’s taken to the final resting place and then we will see how to pick up from there. It's hard for all of us to imagine going forward without him.

“He was our mentor, father and friend. We were always laughing when we were with him. We are going to miss him immensely. It’s too soon to think about replacing him and it’s going to be hard to do so. We need someone who will match that passion he had for community development, who truly wanted to help the community ... not just with acting but with music and guiding the youth in general.”