Mam' Mary Bows Out
Drum English|16 July 2020
Iconic actress Mary Twala is fondly remembered by friends and family for her humour and talent
Duenna Mambana

She was a true legend. With a career spanning over six decades and so many film credits that it would take days to detail, she’s certainly left a mark. She was funny, always professional and humble.

Veteran actress Mary Twala left an enormous void when she died aged 80 on Saturday 4 July.

The Sarafina! star passed away at a hospital after a long illness, her son, Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung (47), announced.

He said his tree had fallen.

“I’m shattered to the core, but I’d be very selfish if I don’t release her. My mom lived to the fullest, achieved beyond her dreams. It hurts like hell I won’t lie,” Somizi wrote.

She definitely lived every minute of her life, her friend and fellow actress Lillian Dube (74) tells DRUM.

Mary’s secret to a successful career was the infectious sense of humour she seemed to carry with her everywhere she went.

“Mary was a staunch professional and took her work very seriously. She never behaved like the legend she was – she was always on time and knew all her lines, which she used to [sometimes] fluff and I used to laugh at her for.

“She also respected the younger talent that came after her. She was only willing to give advice if it was wanted, even though she knew better,” Lillian says.

Mary sometimes expressed concern about how the younger actors behaved on sets, even though she didn’t tell them outright.

“She’d often complain about how some of them want to slay even when their character dictates something else. It was upsetting for her to watch. She loved and lived the arts,” Lillian says.

A veteran in her own right, Lillian tells DRUM her relationship with Mary was one full of love and laughter. “She was a wonderful human being. Very humble, generous and full of humour.

“In the space of work, my friend was so easy to deal with. With all her years of experience and rich knowledge, Mary was able to submit to leadership. Directors on sets across the many shows she was involved in did not struggle with her star power.

“Oh, she was just a lovely person and she also made people love me too,” Lillian says adding that she’d received calls from across South Africa wishing her well during this time.

“I am super grateful for all the love. It means so much just knowing people think about you. It is humbling and I am grateful.”

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