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Ms Mary Twala Mhlongo

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Ms Mary Twala Mhlongo Awarded for:
Her excellent contribution to the performing arts and for creatively raising awareness on women’s health issues through storytelling. Her sense of humour and humility on and off stage has endeared her to the nation at large.
Ms Mary Twala Mhlongo was born on 14 September 1939. She is one of the leading veteran South African actresses.

She has an extensive career as an actress, performing in roles in film, television (TV) and theatre. Her film career includes international films such as Mapantsula; Sarafina!; A Love in Africa; Malunde; Dr Lucille; Nyaka-Nyaka; Ngaka; Deliwe; Friends; Game for Vultures; Taxi to Soweto (for which she won a Best Supporting Actress award); Waati; Science Classic and Score.

Her TV career includes performances in many South African productions, including Undenzani Melwane; Iqhawe; Die SonKriel; Hlala Kwabafileyo; Soul Buddyz, Child of Soweto, Khululeka, Yizo-Yizo, SOS and Muvhango. She won best Comedy Performer awards for her performances in Hlala Kwabafileyo and Molo Fish. In 2007 she appeared in the supernatural mini-series Ubizo (The Calling), for SABC1.

She played the role of ‘MaDolly’ in the SABC2 miniseries Hopeville, from March to April 2009, which earned her best supporting actress nomination at the 6th Africa Movie Academy Awards. In 2010 she starred as ‘MaKhambu’ in the SABC2 sitcom Skwizas, which she reprised in later seasons.

Mhlongo has featured in several South African local productions. She was a guest cast-member in the first season of Generations. After undergoing a medical procedure that kept her out of filming for months, Mhlongo made a comeback in the film, Vaya in 2015. In 2016, she was one of the ensemble cast in Comatose, a film that featured top actors across Africa, including Bimbo Akintola and Hakeem Kae-Kazim.

The film tried to establish the point at which it is justifiable to lose a loved one that is unconscious. In 2017, Mhlongo played a supporting role in the sport film, Beyond the River.