Surtie-Richards was well known for her role as Nenna in the M-Net series Egoli. Picture: Handout/Supplied
Surtie-Richards was well known for her role as Nenna in the M-Net series Egoli. Picture: Handout/Supplied

Shaleen Surtie-Richards: 'Seeing her face on screen made me believe in the power of my own dreams'

By Jehran Daniel Time of article published Jun 8, 2021

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Cape Town - Heartfelt tributes have poured in for beloved legendary South African television and theatre actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards. She was found dead at a guest house in Cape Town on Monday morning.

Surtie-Richard, 66, had a history of battles with illnesses such as diabetes and heart problems.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death, family spokesperson and producer Alistair Izobell said.

"We have lost a sister, an aunt, a cousin and a niece. We are trying to process, come to terms with the news and to still our broken hearts. We understand that she was not only in our hearts but in the hearts of this great nation. We thank you for the love, support and respect as we prepare for her final curtain call," Izobell said on Monday.

Izobell quashed rumours that the TV personality had died by suicide.

Surtie-Richards was well known for her role as Nenna in the M-Net series Egoli, as well as for her character Mattie on Generations which is aired on SABC1.

She also starred as the mayoress in Leon Schuster’s Mama Jack.

The actress had reportedly bagged about 51 awards during a career spanning more than three decades since she started as a professional actress in 1984.

Tributes flooded social media from fellow actors, actresses, politicians and more who shared their memories of Surtie-Richards:

During a radio interview three years ago on KFM 94.5, a day before her birthday, Surtie-Richards laughed as she discussed old age, finding work in South Africa and giving up smoking.

“I'm feeling great, but I must just tell everybody that ageing is not for sissies.I don’t feel 63. It’s just that my body feels 63 sometimes.

“This is South Africa, work is scarce. People always say if you don’t have work, you put on your best clothes and jewellery and you parade down the street, but I’m not like that, I don’t have time for s*** like that.

“Life is at the end of the day what you make of it,” Surtie-Richards said.

In an interview with etv News, Denise Newman said: "It's horrible what Covid's done to the industry but it's also horrible what the industry does to its artists. There's no protection (or royalties). That's what made the last part of Shaleen's life so tragic. She had to scramble and fight."

African News Agency (ANA)

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