Monday, July 19, 2021

Rest in Peace: South Africa loses the Baroness Coral van Reefenhausen and more media mavens.

by Thinus Ferreira

More media people have died because of Covid-19 as well as unknown causes, including the actor and director Leon Kruger, the actor and producer John Wayne Muganza (pictured), the radio journalist Amanda Olivier and Edwin van Wijk who was known as the illustrious Baroness Coral van Reefenhausen.

The South African theatre actor, Edwin van Wijk, also known as Baroness Coral van Reefenhausen, has died. He was 74.

Mambaonline first reported the passing of Edwin van Wijk, with the cause of his death that is not yet known. 

Edwin van Wijk who was born in Grahamstown and died in Amsterdam studied drama at the University of Cape Town (UCT) began his career with the Royal Opera Ballet in Berlioz's The Trojans and over decades appeared in several stage productions across South Africa and in London, as well as SABC and BBC TV series.

He became most well-known for his cabaret and nightclub Baroness Coral von Reefenhausen alter ego who became a "one-woman show" Ladies and Gentleman ... The Baroness that was on stage at the Sun City Superbowl and in Cape Town.

This led to the outrageous 13-episode adult variety series, Below the Belt, on SABC3 in 2003 that has since been acquired by Amazon Prime Video for global viewers.

The radio journalist Amanda Olivier died on Sunday morning around 07:00 in Johannesburg after she had lost her battle against Covid-19. She was 72. 

The SABC's RSG radio station first reported the passing of Amanda Olivier who worked for decades at the SABC and presented several programmes on RSG, as well as on the regional commercial OFM radio station.

The South African actor, scriptwriter, playwright and director Leon Kruger died on Thursday in his home in Bellville in Cape Town. He was 48 and was diagnosed with Covid-19 earlier this month although the cause of his death is not yet known.

Leon Kruger was the scriptwriter of kykNET and Showmax series like Die Byl, Waterfront, as well as the stage comedies Oupa en Ouma Sit op die Stoep that also became a kykNET comedy, Oupa en Ouma raam romanties and Oupa and Ouma op toer. He was on stage in Toorberg, God van Chaos and Geraldina die Tweede

He also wrote the plays Ou blare and Innie rof and was a voice actor in some of the SABC radio station RSG's drama series of which he also wrote one, Strip.

Herman Binge, director at the production company Marche Media, told TVwithThinus that "the passing of one of our country's most talented theatre and TV practitioners is a massive blow for Marche Media as well as for the industry."

"Leon distinguished himself as playwright and stage actor, as well as TV scriptwriter. Many saw him as one of the top Afrikaans TV scriptwriters in our industry based on the success of his texts for the four seasons of the drama series Die Byl. We have lost a dear friend and respected colleague."

"Everyone who has worked with him will miss him tremendously and will remember him for his sayings and jokes. We mourn with his wife, the actress, musician and radio personality Frieda van den Heever and their two boys Basjan and Eugi. It's impossible to replace Leon - for that he was completely unique. We will never forget him."  

The Ugandan actor and producer John Wayne Muganza suddenly died on Saturday night in his home in Kampala, with the cause of his death which is not yet known. 

John Wayne Muganza was known for series like The Hostel and films like New Intentions, and he also had roles in several Malaysian films such as Ester, Gadiscuci, Zoo, Gera and Khas Entrapment. He also appeared in films 5@Home, Are you not a man?, Balikoowa in the city, 27 Guns and 2006's The Last King of Scotland.

John Wayne Muganza is currently seen as Mr TT in the new drama series Mama and Me on MultiChoice and M-Net's Pearl Magic Prime (DStv 148) channel.

In a statement, the Mama and Me production said that "We have received the very sad news today that our actor, friend and brother John Wayne Muganza who was acting as Mr TT has gone to be with the Lord. We put his family in our prayers and may his soul rest in eternal peace".

The actor Germandt Geldenhuys of the Afrikaans weekday soap Binnelanders on kykNET, as well as the investigative TV journalist Devi Sankaree Govender of Devi on, have both received a Covid-19 positive diagnosis this month and are also battling coronavirus symptoms.