Former Generations actress and friend to slain Mandla Hlatshwayo Sophie Ndaba says the rate at which South Africa is losing both talented artists and ordinary people to crime is alarming.
Ndaba spoke to HuffPost SA on Tuesday following Hlatshwayo's murder on Sunday and the subsequent arrest of the four men suspected to have killed him.
"The thing is, crime levels in the general society are at an alarming rate and as celebrities we are not immune to that. We are part of the general society and are exposed to the same risk and challenges faced by fellow members of society as far as crime is concerned," said Ndaba.
She said: "I know that when a hijacker attacks you, they don't look at your face. They are there on a mission and they will take what they want before looking at you and maybe realise it at a later stage when your story hits the news that it was actually, a celebrity they attacked. So, as I think celebs are just in as much danger as other people in the communities we live in".
On Tuesday, South Africa woke up to news of the arrest of four men suspected of murdering Hlatshwayo, who was also a Jozi FM DJ.
His murder left the country reeling in shock including his former colleagues from the popular soapie, Generations.
His friends and fellow celebrities took to Twitter to pay tribute to Hlatshwayo, who was known for his character as Simphiwe Phosa in the soapie.
Ndaba told HuffPost SA that the slain 40-year-old was more than a colleague and more of a brother to her.
"I spent so much time with Mandla on set. There was a period where we did a lot of scenes together. It was at that time that we connected and I came to know about his family as well as his passions in life. I knew that his heart was in music and hence when he pursued a career in that space, I was not surprised because I knew that's what his heart always wanted. I loved how he always put his family first and how proud he was of being a breadwinner," said Ndaba.
She said Hlatshwayo always pushed boundaries and dabbled in various ventures during his time on Generations.
"He had an entrepreneurial spirit and just never gave up and that is one of the things that I loved about him. This loss for me is a loss to the industry as well because he was one of those men who always delivered whatever role he was in, to the best of his ability,"
She described him as fearless, kind, giving and one of the friendliest people she's ever worked with.
The renowned events planner said the honours is on parents to make sure they raise boys and girls to be responsible men and women.
"It starts with parents. How our young men are raised also counts. The world is hungry for entrepreneurs and leaders; we cannot afford to raise children who will become part of the problem. We need game changers and let's start them young," she said.
On Monday, after news broke of Hltashwayo's murder, Ndaba took to Twitter to express her shock and heartbreak:
Hlatshwayo's uncle Jabulani said details of the funeral would be confirmed as the family was still getting together.