Cyril Ramaphosa mourns ’household performer’ Shaleen Surtie-Richards
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Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed sadness over the passing of veteran South African stage and screen actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards.
The legendary South African television and theatre actress was found dead on Monday morning at a guest house in Cape Town, where she was filming scenes for Afrikaans-language television channel kykNet’s series “Arendsvlei”.
In a statement on Monday night, Ramaphosa paid tribute to the educator-turned-performer, saying her artistic versatility and humility touched generations.
“We have lost a household performer whose distinctive energy, artistic versatility and humility touched generations of South Africans for more than three decades,” said Ramaphosa.
“On stage and screen Shaleen Surtie-Richards held a mirror to our unjust past and gave us hope for our future as a nation. May her soul rest in peace.”
Surtie-Richards, 66, had a history of battles with illnesses such as diabetes and heart problems, but an autopsy will be completed before the cause of her death can be determined, family spokesman and producer Alistair Izobell said in a statement.
“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.
Izobell also quashed rumours that the TV personality had committed suicide.
Surtie-Richards was well known for her role in the M-Net series “Egoli”, where she played Nenna, as well as for her character Mattie on “Generations”, which is aired on SABC1.
She also starred in actor Leon Schuster’s “Mama Jack” as the Mayoress.
African News Agency