Yizo Yizo was a hit South African TV teen drama series that aired from 1999 to 2004 on SABC1. The show featured many actors who have sadly since passed away, including Tshepo Ngwane, Themsie Times, Christopher Kubheka, and Sandy Mokwena, among others. The show’s co-creator and writer, Teboho Mahlatsi, has also passed away. He succumbed to cancer in July 2023, aged 49.
Yizo Yizo was a cult classic that won the hearts of South African TV audiences. The show, which ran for three seasons and had numerous cast members, was set in a fictional high school, Supatsela High, and it followed the lives of teachers and students who constantly faced corruption, violence, and anarchy.
Who are the Yizo Yizo Actors That Passed On?
- Tshepo Ngwane
- Themsie Times
- Christopher Kubheka
- Sandy Mokwena
- Menzi Ngubane
- Mary Twala
- Patrick Shai
- Patrick Ndlovu
- Mary Makhatho
- Date of Birth: July 21st, 1976
- Died: October 27th, 2015
Former Zone 14 actor Tshepo Ngwane was hospitalized at the Bheki Mlangeni District Hospital, Jabulani, Soweto, in mid-October 2015. Unfortunately, he died of an undisclosed illness two weeks later. His burial took place the next month, and donations were made for it to be organized. Ngwane’s funeral service was held at Makhaya Hall in Zondi, Soweto.
It was attended by many celebrities, including Lulu King of Jaziel Productions, Patrick Shai, Thulani Didi, Thembi Seete, Ronnie Nyakale, and Kere Nyawo. The Department of Arts and Culture made donations of chairs, tents, and transport, while Bomb Productions, which produced Yizo Yizo and Zone 14, donated over R30,000.
Tshepo Ngwane scored the role of Thiza in Yizo Yizo and made appearances in the three seasons. He held a National Diploma in Retail Management from Wits Technikon. Amazingly, on his death anniversary in October 2022, TV lovers remembered him on social media. However, some people were in disbelief as they had no idea the Yizo Yizo actor passed away.
- Date of Birth: September 22nd, 1949
- Died: December 9th, 2021
In the first season of Yizo Yizo, Themsie Times joined the cast as Ma Jordan. She, however, didn’t feature in the second and third seasons. The actress died at the age of 72 on December 9th, 2021, and her cause of death is yet to be disclosed. Besides Yizo Yizo, Themsie Times was also best known for her role as Maria Zibula in 7de Laan.
- Date of Birth: 1969
- Died: June 12th, 2017
Gunman was the character portrayed by Christopher Kubheka in the hit series Yizo Yizo. He featured in the show’s three seasons and became quite famous in the country. Tragically, in June 2017, he was found dead at his residence in Soshanguve, Pretoria. His wife, Cynthia Khumalo, found him hanging on the burglar door when she returned from work, and he was suspected to have committed suicide.
The late actor reportedly fathered 24 children, who were unveiled during his memorial service and funeral. Fourteen of his children were introduced to his wife at his memorial service, and an additional ten children were also introduced at his funeral. The ugly incident allegedly left Gunman’s wife baffled as she only knew four children he fathered outside of their marriage.
Surprisingly, several of his children who were introduced after his death were under the age of ten, whereas the Yizo Yizo actor was married to Cynthia for 10 years before he passed away.
- Date of Birth: July 26th, 1949
- Died: January 24th, 2018
Like Themsie Times, Sandy Mokwena only featured in the first season of Yizo Yizo. He had the role of Ken Mokoena in the drama series. He died of natural causes at the age of 68 in January 2018. Mokwena was widely recognized for his role as Bra Eddie Khumalo in Scandal. From 1972 to 1984, he toured the world with the cast of the hit musical Tombi.
- Date of Birth: September 4th, 1964
- Died: March 13th, 2021
Born in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, Menzi Ngubane was a veteran South African actor whose career lasted for three decades. He was cast as Elliot in the second season of Yizo Yizo. His character was a charismatic teacher who made sexual advances towards his students. After a prolonged battle with kidney disease and diabetes, Ngubane died of stroke complications in his home on March 13, 2021, aged 56.
He had his breakout role in the Zulu drama series Kwakhala Nyonini in 1987 and went on to feature in several hit series, including Gaz’lam, Generations, Ashes to Ashes, and Isibaya. Menzi Ngubane bagged the Star of Mzansi Award in 2008 and took home the R1 million prize.
- Date of Birth: September 14th, 1939
- Died: July 4th, 2020
Mary Twala had an extensive career in acting and featured in the second season of Yizo Yizo as Alice. She passed away on July 4th, 2020, at the age of 80 years. She was the mother of choreographer and SA Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo.
Twala was a film, TV, and theatre actress who had roles in numerous productions. For her great contributions to performing arts, she won the Best Comedy Performer Award. She also received a SAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Comedy in 2015. Furthermore, she was honored with the Order of Ikhamangain Silver from the South African Presidency in the year 2019.
- Date of Birth: December 5th, 1956
- Died: January 2nd, 2022
Another Yizo Yizo actor who passed away by suicide is Patrick Shai. He took his own life at his home in Dobsonville, Soweto, on Saturday, January 22nd, 2022. He was very popular in Mzansi for playing the role of Edwin Thapelo in season one of Yizo Yizo. He further appeared in several other TV series, as well as made for TV movies, feature films, and stage plays.
- Date of Birth: November 15th, 1938
- Died: May 30th, 2023
Veteran actor Patrick Ndlovu is another Yizo Yizo actor who passed away. He played the role of principal Mthembu in the first season of the teen drama series. His death was announced by his agency, Monyeen Lee Associates (MLA SA), in May 2023. He died at the age of 85, and his death was said to have been of natural causes.
Ndlovu was survived by his wife, Kellina Sonto Ndlovu, and daughter, Nomvuyo Ndlovu, and also two daughters he had from his previous relationships.
- Date of Birth: August 10th, 1965
- Died: August 7th, 2017
Mary Makhatho was well-known for her role as Councillor in Yizo Yizo. The renowned thespian died three days before her 52nd birthday in 2017. Her death was caused by the serious injuries she sustained from a fall in July 2017. In addition to Yizo Yizo, Makhatho was featured in other TV series, including eKasi: Our Stories, Rhythm City, Mamello, Generations, and Greed & Desire.