Teboho Mahlatsi.

Teboho Mahlatsi.

Photo courtesy of the family.

Teboho Mahlatsi, Co-Creator of South African Series 'Yizo Yizo,' Passes Away at 49

Decorated South African filmmaker Teboho Mahlatisi, of Yizo Yizo, Portrait of a Young Man Drowning and more, has passed away from an undisclosed cause.

The entertainment industry is in mourning following the untimely death of Teboho Mahlatsi, the co-creator and writer of the acclaimed '90s drama series Yizo Yizo, at the age of 49. Comedian David Kau shared the sad news on Monday afternoon, while the circumstances surrounding Mahlatsi's passing remain undisclosed.

Mahlatsi co-created and wrote Yizo Yizo alongside Peter Esterhuysen, Harriet Perlman, Mtutuzeli Matshoba, and Angus Gibson. The series shed light on the challenges faced by learners in the South African education system during the '90s, highlighting the breakdown in the culture of learning and teaching. This breakdown resulted in a sense of helplessness among parents, students, and teachers.

In addition to Yizo Yizo, Mahlatsi's noteworthy works include the award-winning short film Portrait of a Young Man Drowning, which earned him the Silver Lion award at the 1999 Venice Film Festival. He also contributed to projects such as For Love and Broken Bones, Isibaya, and Sekali le Meokgo (Meokgo and the Stickfighter).

Mahlatsi served as a company co-director at Bomb Productions, responsible for the popular Mzansi Magic drama series Shaka iLembe. The Bomb Productions website mentions that Mahlatsi received the Tribute entertainment achiever of the Year award from President Thabo Mbeki. Furthermore, in 2018, he was honored for his groundbreaking work in the audiovisual and creative field at the USIBA Awards, hosted by Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Why I make movies: Teboho Mahlatsi at TEDxSoweto

In a TEDxSoweto talk in 2010, Mahlatsi shared his passion for filmmaking, stating, "I'm like Brenda Fassie of films. I want to entertain. I want to make films for that kid who went to the bioscope as I did. I make films that first and foremost say something about my own environment and myself as a fan of cinema."

Following the news of his passing, industry colleagues and fans took to social media to pay tribute to Mahlatsi. Thishiwe Ziqubu expressed, "Oh no, what a beautiful, talented soul! Deepest condolences to his family and loved ones." Siboniso Dhlamini wrote, "The name Teboho Mahlatsi is on every show that I know on our televisions. May his soul rest in peace." Many others lauded his storytelling skills, recognizing him as a brilliant filmmaker and acknowledging the industry's loss of a true luminary.