Sello Maake kaNcube to playwright Selaelo Maredi: ‘Thank you for your love for the creative industry’

Selaelo Maredi. Picture: Facebook

Selaelo Maredi. Picture: Facebook

Published Aug 25, 2023


Sello Maake kaNcube expressed his gratitude and appreciation for Selaelo Dan Maredi, a pioneer of Black South African Theatre, who made significant contributions to the field.

Maredi passed away “peacefully at home” on Thursday, August 17, after a long illness.

During the memorial service held at the San Kopano Resource Centre in Alexandra on August 23, Maredi was remembered for his sharp wit and innovative spirit.

Industry giants including Sello Maake kaNcube, Jerry Tsie, Arthur Molepo, Peter Sephuma and Mpho Molepo, all praised Maredi for his immense contributions and dedication to the world of theatre.

According to his peers, his innovative nature, commitment to education and dedication to nurturing emerging talent leave an indelible mark on the creative landscape, inspiring others to carry forward his legacy.

Maake kaNcube attributed his own artistic growth and development to Maredi’s influence. He said Maredi, along with Kid Sithole and Joe Mafela, were some of the pivotal figures who inspired and shaped his journey as a performer.

Sephuma highlighted Maredi’s international pursuits, noting that he ventured abroad to study, work and learn.

Upon returning to South Africa, Maredi generously shared his knowledge and experiences by teaching and mentoring aspiring artists, leaving a lasting impact on the creative community.

Sephuma acknowledged that he owed many of his accomplishments to Maredi’s mentorship.

Maredi’s legacy spans more than five decades, encompassing not only his roles as a playwright, actor, producer, director and drama teacher, but also his dedication to anti-apartheid and human rights activism.

A notable moment in Maredi’s life was a meeting he had with Oliver Tambo in Cuba, during which he, along with Abdullah Ibrahim and Kgosietsile Keorapetse, was entrusted with the task of using art to raise funds for Umkhonto we Sizwe.

“Maredi will always remember a meeting with Oliver Tambo in Cuba when he, Abdullah Ibrahim and Kgosietsile Keorapetse were tasked to use art to raise funds for Umkhonto we Sizwe, the ANC armed wing,” recalled Maredi’s protégé Roelf Matlala.

“His play ‘Survival’ was invited to perform at the UN in New York to highlight the atrocities of apartheid South Africa.”

“Skeem Saam” star Sebaba Mogale said Bro Slae, as he was affectionately known, would be remembered as a “generous theatre practitioner who was “willing to sacrifice himself for the betterment of his people”.

Mogale also shared how Maredi’s training and teachings significantly improved his speech and drama skills, enabling him to excel as a broadcaster, voice artist and master of ceremonies.

Maredi’s dedication to theatre rehearsals and performances played a pivotal role in Mogale’s success across radio, theatre and television.

“It was through all those long night theatre rehearsals and performances he offered, that I was able to excel in my acting career in radio, theatre and television.

“He’d like to be remembered as a protest theatre practitioner of note, who assisted South Africans in fighting against the inhumane apartheid laws through his craftsmanship.

“And also that, the fight is still on to better our entertainment industry he had dedicated all his life.”

TV legend and filmmaker Duma Ndlovu took to his Facebook page to express his condolences and pay tribute to Maredi’s remarkable life and contributions.

Ndlovo reflected on Maredi’s extensive involvement in various projects, particularly those in the US, New York.

Ndlovo highlighted how Maredi, after leaving South Africa for exile in the 1970s, became part of a collective effort to challenge and “discredit apartheid” through cultural activism on a global scale.

“Maredi, who had co-created Workshop 71 with a number of Wits students and Robert ‘Mshengu’ Kavanagh in 1971 was also co-creator of ‘Survival’, a five-man play that told of the oppressive South African penal system.

“He continued his advocacy theatrical work in the US until he came back to South Africa in 1991 where he continued working in the development theatre space. He passed on this past week, leaving a massive void in the theatrical community. A giant tree has fallen.”

Maredi will be laid to rest in Polokwane on Saturday, August 26.

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