Siyabonga Zubane (October 5, 1998 – May 7, 2022) was a South African actor who gained instant fame and notoriety for his on-screen role as Sdumo in Gomora, one of the most-watched South African telenovelas.
Zubane was considered one of the most promising actors of his time before he sadly passed away at the age of 24. He may have only appeared in just two local productions, but he absolutely left behind footprints in the sand of time.
Sdumo from Gomora’s Real Name and Age
The real name of Sdumo from Gomora is Siyabonga Zubane. He was born on the 5th of October 1998 in Alexandra Township, Soweto, to Thobile Zubane and her husband. The late actor was the second born in a family of three sons and one daughter.
His immediate younger brother, Thabiso Zubane, is a musical artist who sang for Bana Bama Afrika Tap and Clap the Choir, a.k.a Soul Providers. The Gomora actor was briefly raised in Alexandra Township after his birth.
His family left the city when he was seven years old, and he moved to Tembisa township to live with his grandmother and uncles. The Zubane family later moved back to Alexandra without Siyabonga, who was in Grade 5 then.
The actor matriculated from Jiyana Secondary school, Tembisa. He was actively involved in his school’s dramatic art during his school days. The Gomora star enrolled at the Tshwane University of Technology in the year 2018 to further his education, majoring in Performing Arts and Dance at the varsity.
When Siyabonga joined the renowned institution, he was fully sponsored by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in his first year. Things changed for the worse in his second year when he started receiving only money for his accommodation from NSFAS. By the third year, he was only getting a food allowance only and was owing about R20,000.
The frustration and NSFAS’s inability to fully fund his education eventually forced him to drop out of the varsity in the year 2020. The actor had plans of completing his education in the nearest future before his life abruptly ended.
His Tragically Short (But Awesome) Career Began in 2017
Zubane’s career as an actor began in the year 2017 when he first debuted in the soap opera Isibaya as the fictional character Bhungezi. He was only 19 years old then. Zubane only played the character for one day for experience’s sake.
He once shared that he didn’t know how much he was paid for the role because the payment was made through his agent, adding that he was basically more interested in gaining acting experience through his Bhungezi character than the money.
His next screen role was as Sdumo in Gomora, wherein he played a gangster who terrorized the community, abducted school girls, hijacked cars, and got involved in other crimes for quick bucks.
The Alexandra Township-born actor did a fantastic job in the TV show regardless of the fact that he had no vast acting experience. His outstanding performance was the secret behind his huge fan base both in real life and on social media.
His appearance in the telenovela played a pivotal role in his meteoric rise to stardom because Gomora is one of the most-watched soap operas in South Africa. Sadly, the TV show was his second, last, and most prominent job in his lifetime.
The actor, who was a favorite even among his colleagues, was swiftly on his path to overwhelming recognition and greatness when his career was cut short by death.
What Happened to Siyabonga Zubane?
News broke out on the 7th of May 2022 that actor Siyabonga Zubane has sadly passed away. He was said to have been found in his home in Soweto by his housemates and was rushed to the hospital, where he was declared dead.
Siyabonga Zubane’s Family
As mentioned earlier, Siyabonga Zubane is the son of Thobile Zubane and her husband, whose identity is not publicly known. The actor was the second born of three sons and one daughter.
Who Was Siyabonga Zubane’s Wife?
The Gomora actor was not married at the time of his death. He never mentioned dating any girl or being married before his death. However, it is said that he had a child with a young lady named Kgothatso.
She was reportedly one of those who confirmed the actor’s passing when contacted by the media on the day of the tragic incident. Further information about the lady is not publicly known, and the public is yet to ascertain if her claims of having a child for the actor is true.
The Truth About Siyabonga Zubane’s Death
Since Zubane’s demise, several reports about his death have continued to make the rounds. While some people who were close to him (including his alleged baby mama) mentioned that he was found dead in the early morning of May 7, 2022, in his rental home in Soweto, others have it that he committed suicide.
Sdumo? Not when I enjoy he's acting on Gomora. Kanti uLife unjani na guys 😭😭💔 pic.twitter.com/4RAaGe32ZH
— Ms Zickie👑🏳️🌈 (@Zickiie_S) May 7, 2022
However, a lot of people have come out to plead with the public to give his family space to mourn him and also allow the relevant authorities to investigate the cause of the young man’s sudden death.
It was said a few days after his death that the police were investigating the cause of his death, and his family was yet to obtain the results of the post-mortem. There has not been an update on Zubane’s cause of death since then.
The young man’s death left most people in tears, including his Gomora colleagues and several other notable actors who took to their respective social media pages to mourn his early demise.
This is one of the best from Sdumo and Tshiamo from Gomora. How can you have not liked him? RIP 🕊 pic.twitter.com/21FYt8Ngid
— Sphe ⑦ (@thirsty_sphe) May 7, 2022
Among them was A-list actress Connie Chiume who also posted that she had waited in vain for Siyabonga’s call to tell her the report about his demise was all false but couldn’t see it.
During the actor’s memorial, she also emphasized the need for appropriate government authorities to address the mental health issues faced in the entertainment industry, revealing how she overcame suicidal thoughts in the late 80s after the death of her child.
Siyabonga Zubane’s memorial service took place at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein on Thursday, 12 May, after which he was laid to rest on 15th May 2022.