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Ramaphosa mourns veteran S/African actor

President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late veteran South African stage and…

President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late veteran South African stage and screen actor Shaleen Surtie-Richards who died on Monday in Cape Town, his office said on Tuesday.Surtie-Richards, aged 66, passed away during her stay in the city where she was filming the KykNet series, Arendsvlei, a popular TV entertainment show.

According to the presidency, Ramaphosa said the country had lost a performer whose distinctive energy, artistic versatility and humility touched generations of South Africans for more than three decades.

“On stage and screen, Shaleen Surtie-Richards held a mirror to our unjust past and gave us hope for our future as a nation,” Ramaphosa said in his tribute to the former educator-turned-actor.

While the cause of her death has not been announced, her family said “it is common knowledge that she suffered from diabetes and heart problems.”

“Her death might be related to this but the family awaits an autopsy as to the cause of death,” family spokesperson Alistair Izobell said.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture chairperson Beauty Dlulane described “Tanie Shaleen’s” death as a massive blow to the arts industry in the country.

“This legend had offered so much through her acting career over the years. She was the queen of the stage. And once more, our country has lost,” Dlulane said. 

Fans of the late actress said her passing was devastating.

“The passing of Shaleen fills me with grief and sadness. I will remember her as a giant of the entertainment industry who paved a path for actors of colour. She will remain in our hearts and minds forever,” one fan said.

Another fan added: “Hearing Shaleen Surtie-Richards had passed away really hit close to home because, for me, she was an icon based on the fact that, despite her being famous, she was always authentically herself. Rest in peace Fiela, Nenna, Shaleen.”

The names Fiela and Nenna were characters of Surtie-Richards’ best known roles as Fiela in Fiela se Kind and Nenna in Egoli TV shows.

Her funeral service is set for Sunday in Cape Town, the family said.

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