Cape Town - Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, has released an official statement on the deaths of local "lodestars" Akhumzi Jezile, Thobani Mseleni and Siyasanga Kobese.
The three rising stars were involved in a tragic car accident on the N6 between Jamestown and Queenstown in the Eastern Cape that claimed the lives of 5 people on Saturday.
According to family spokesperson Percy Vilakazi the group of friends were on their way to attend a family gathering in the Eastern Cape when the tragic event occurred.
In an official statement Mthethwa says: "It is with deep sorrow and profound grief that the Ministry of Arts and Culture has learnt of not one, but three deaths of the bright young stars and the future of the country's arts and creative industries, namely Akhumzi Jezile, Thobani Mseleni Siyasanga Kobese in that car accident."
He goes on to pay tribute to each artist individually:
Mthatha-born Akhumzi Jezile was a star who grew up in front of the nation's eye as a presenter on YO.TV, and finally attained renowned respect in the TV and film industry that saw fit to recognise his talent with a SAFTA award in 2014 for his role as Ngulube in Tempy Pushas.
Fort Beaufort-born Thobani Mseleni patiently paid his dues in the TV and film industry before getting his "big break" by being introduced to South African audiences playing roles including that of Bhonyongo in the drama series Matatiele and recently as Babalo in the award-winning movie Inxeba: The Wound.
The gifted eZibeleni-born Siyasanga Kobese was an actress we got to watch playing the character of Siphokazi on the drama series Zabalazwa. However we remember her most vividly as someone who wowed audiences nationwide as a lead singer of Joyous Celebration.
"All three were young, brilliant shining stars from whom we'd have undoubtedly derived joy and delight from their long careers- and lives," says Mthethwa.
He ends off the statement by referencing the African Gospel hymn Hay'inyweba sang by Kobese, leading the Joyous Celebration choir.
Watch the rendition below:
(Photos: Gallo, Instagram, YouTube)