Tributes pour in after Madiba lookalike dies from Covid-19

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Cape Town – Tributes are pouring in for Eastern Cape community activist and Nelson Mandela lookalike Ayanda Mbatyothi, 46, who died at the weekend from a Covid-19 related illness.

His family said Mbatyothi died on Sunday morning, a day after “Mandela Day” and confirmed that he succumbed due to the coronavirus that has infected more than 350 000 people in South Africa. He will be buried at his home in Alice on Saturday.

Mbatyothi found fame in South Africa through his likeness to the former leader, and wanted to be seen as a living reminder of Mandela. He also starred in Leon Schuster’s 2005 comedy Mama Jack.

Buffalo City Metro ward 8 councillor Ayanda Mapisa said it was always a pleasure and honour to be in the company of Mbatyothi.

Mapisa said Mbatyothi’s death came at a time when he was busy collecting tools to fight the virus for the community.

“He was a true gentleman, who had touched and changed so many lives with his compassionate nature and leadership in which he gladly shared his experiences.”

Mapisa said that Mbatyothi’s personality was very much like that of Mandela and his community spirit echoed the former president’s. “He had Madiba’s humility and spirit. He hosted Christmas parties for the elderly in our community and he was recently planning on distributing sanitisers in Duncan Village.”

He said he also performed his famous speeches, earned cheers at political rallies and, in a reference to the struggle hero’s clan name was also known as “Young Madiba.”

Mbatyothi had no known blood ties to Mandela.

On social media, Siphe Penzo Ntiyane said “East London, Nelson Mandela-look-alike, Ayanda Mbatyoti, has passed away. Hamba kahle, Zizi (Rest In Peace) Young Madiba.” IOL

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