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VETERAN actor and singer Sam Ngakane, who died on Sunday, has been described by his peers as a maverick dedicated to his craft.
Ngakane, 86, died at Helen Joseph Hospital in Joburg after suffering a heart attack. At the time he had been home in Soweto recovering from a stroke.
Actor David Phetoe said Ngakane was a maverick who had dedicated his life to show business.
He said Ngakane was always well-dressed and had aptly adopted the saying: "It ain't that good if it hasn't got style."
His old friend and colleague jazz singer Abigail Kubheka lamented the loss of a gentleman and icon.
"He was one of the few gentlemen in the business. He was so talented and well read. He could be a tiger at his job but a lamb to his friends," Kubheka said.
Actress Lillian Dube said she would miss Ngakane's beautiful voice and warm heart.
"Oh, what a beautiful soul and wonderful actor. He was such a gentle soul who would never get angry," Dube said.
Creative Workers Union of South Africa spokesperson Boikie Mohlamme said it was because of performers like Ngakane that actors were paid repeat fees by broadcasters for repeat screenings of their works.
Ngakane acted in popular TV dramas such as Mopheme, Lesiba and Inkinsela yaseMgungundlovu and films such as In My Country, which was based on Antjie Krog's book Country of My Skull.
He was also the baritone singer of jazz group Skylarks - Miriam Makeba's early backing group - and the Boston Brothers.
Ngakane's daughter, Paulina Shongwe, said funeral arrangements had not yet been finalised.