Veteran actor Jerry Mofokeng has been left emotionally shattered and numb after losing two long-time friends, Hugh Masekela and Sandy Mokwena, within days of each other.
Scandal! actor Sandy died on Wednesday evening in a Johannesburg hospital, just days after music legend Hugh Masekela.
Reflecting on the grief he felt, Jerry told TshisaLIVE he was struggling to find reasons to be positive after such devastating losses.
“I have lost three people extremely close to me this week. First Bra Hugh, then someone close to me and my family, and now Bra Sandy. It has been a lot and I feel kind of numb to it all now. I am struggling. I am sitting in front of a computer because I need to keep busy and find reasons to be positive.”
Jerry said he heard about Bra Hugh’s death during a lunch break on set and immediately retreated to his dressing room where he sobbed.
“I went to my dressing room and just cried. I sobbed. I don’t think anyone knows how much I loved that man. I was devastated and just cried for what seemed like the whole day. I couldn’t hold it back. My heart was broken.”
Jerry said he was unable to shoot his scenes that day and has cancelled several other commitments to allow him time to deal with the loss.
“They called me for my scenes and I couldn’t go. I was too emotional.”
Jerry first met Bra Hugh while studying in New York. Bra Hugh heard Jerry was in the city and visited the theatre he was at and they chatted as if they were “back in Orlando, Soweto”.
“He was one of my greatest friends and I don’t know if he knew but he was one of my heroes. He always made time for me and he was a star so he didn’t have to. He was a global star but treated me like his neighbour. We have really lost a great man and the thought of him going is hard to comprehend.”
Jerry also had similar praise for his fellow Scandal! actor.
“When you come on to a show where people like Sandy have acted for years, you feel a little intimidated and out of place. But on my first day he came to my dressing room to greet me and welcome me. He saw that I did not have a robe, which is not that important, but he took me by the hand and we marched to the crew to get me one. He looked after me.”
He said that Sandy was sick in the months before his death but was honest about his condition and positive.
“He would say; ‘I am not okay today’, between smiles. It was hard to see but he stayed strong and wanted to work. He was committed and loving, and that is the highest compliment I can give him.”