Shoki Mokgapa: A Legacy of Talent and Tragedy

Shoki Mokgapa: A Legacy of Talent and Tragedy

Shoki Mokgapa (17 August 1984 – 26 September 2018) was a South African actress known for her role as Rachel in the film Sink.

Shoki Mokgapa

Born 17 August 1984

Johannesburg, South Africa
Died 26 September 2018 (aged 34)

Johannesburg, South Africa
Occupation Actress
Years active 2008–2018

Early Life

Mokgapa was born in Johannesburg and grew up with a brother and a stepsister. She attended Michael Mount Waldorf School, studied at the British International College, and later pursued a Bachelor of Communications. She then trained at AFDA in Johannesburg, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts.


Mokgapa debuted on television in 2008 in The Lab and was part of the founding team of POPArt Theatre. Her career included roles in Wild at Heart, Silent Witness, and Hollywood films like Retribution and Dredd. Notable local projects include Intersexions, Ashes to Ashes, and Sink, for which she won Best Actress awards.


Mokgapa, who struggled with clinical depression and anxiety, died by suicide in 2018 at age 34.


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Perana Short film
2007 Brothers in Arms: 1978 Angolan Woman
2010 The First Grader Teacher Elizabeth
2011 Retribution Thembi Maphosa
2012 Dredd Woman with Child
2013 Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Lady in Nightclub
2015 Sink Rachel Nyaga
2016 The Chemo Club Ruby
2016 A Love Like This
2017 Bypass Sister Mmaya
2017 Reality Mage Short film
2018 Sew the Winter to My Skin


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Life Is Wild Shoki
2008 Wild at Heart Susie
2008 The Lab Tumi
2010 Silent Witness Kudzai Marechera
2011 Sokhulu & Partners Reporter
2013 Intersexions Gadima
2015 Those Who Can’t Lindiwe
2015 Ashes to Ashes Disebo
2017 Swartwater Boitumelo
2018 The Docket Guest role
2018 The Looming Tower Secretary Miniseries

Awards and Nominations:

Year Award Category Work Result
2017 South African Film and Television Awards Best Actress in a Film Sink Won
Silwerskerm Film Festival Best Actress Won

Mokgapa’s passing left a void in the entertainment industry, but her impactful performances and contributions continue to be remembered and celebrated


Shoki Mokgapa’s life and career were marked by talent, dedication, and significant contributions to South African cinema and television. Her versatility as an actress was evident in her diverse roles, from local productions like “The Lab” and “Ashes to Ashes” to international projects such as “Dredd” and “Silent Witness.”

Her portrayal of Rachel Nyaga in “Sink” particularly stood out, earning her critical acclaim and prestigious awards. Despite her success, Mokgapa battled with mental health challenges, highlighting the importance of mental wellness in the entertainment industry and beyond.

Her untimely passing in 2018 was a loss felt deeply by the acting community and fans alike. However, her legacy endures through her memorable performances and the impact she made during her time in the spotlight. Shoki Mokgapa’s talent and contributions will continue to be cherished and remembered in the realm of South African film and television.

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