Praises heaped on legendary actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards as she takes final curtain call

The late Shaleen Surtie-Richards.
The late Shaleen Surtie-Richards.
Image: Supplied.

Tributes continue pouring in for veteran actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards who was found dead on Monday morning at a guest house in Cape Town.

She was shooting a TV series at the time of her death.

Surtie-Richards has been described as a talented, legendary, dynamic, and evergreen actress.

Seasoned actor and cultural activist Mabutho Sithole said: “It is a wrap for the ever bubbly thespian par excellence, who was not only a marvel to watch on duty but pleasant company off set too. Her exit on life's stage took me down memory lane when both of us and others were part of the Egoli [M-Net hit series] production. In those years racially mixed casts were unfashionable, yet evoked the best interactive scenes, led by her humorous exposition on the Egoli set.”

Born in Upington in the Northern Cape, the 66-year-old was famously known for her roles such as Mattie in Generations and Nenna in Egoli: Place of Gold.

She received many awards during her career, including a lifetime achievement award at the Royalty Soapie Awards in 2014.

While Surtie-Richards was known for her extensive career in the performing arts, she was also qualified as a nursery school teacher and taught children before making her debut as an actress.

Sithole said Surtie-Richards was a versatile social commentator with a warm personality.

He said the talented actress excelled as a performer, host, director, and was a genius at the execution of those roles with her signature style.

“She had this naughty smile and often roughly thrown Afrikaans bites to those closest to her would attest and blush sheepishly later. We are grateful for a purpose-driven life of sharing your prowess and gifts unsparingly to SA audiences. We are indeed poorer in the performing arts sector without your expertise; as a final curtain call approaches and as you bow out, audiences revere you.”

Minister of sports, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa said: “Shaleen invested her heart and soul into every character she portrayed. Her warmth and sense of humour were infectious and her talent won her international recognition.

"We will remember her with great fondness for her iconic roles in hit films such as Fiela se Kind, Mama Jack, Treurgrond and Vaselinetjie. Most recently, she starred in the KykNet series Arendsvlei. She turned every role she touched into an audio-visual masterpiece."

Surtie-Richards also appeared in TV shows such as 7de Laan , Broken Vows, Die Uwe Pottie Potgieter, Fishy Fêshuns, Tina, It's OK We're Family and Rockville.

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