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Moving memorial service for Patrick Shai

Seasoned actor's humble roots recalled

Mourners gathered at the Market Theatre to attend the memorial service of actor Patrick Shai who passed away at his home in Dobsonville, Soweto, on Saturday.
Mourners gathered at the Market Theatre to attend the memorial service of actor Patrick Shai who passed away at his home in Dobsonville, Soweto, on Saturday. 

Hundreds of people gathered on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the life of seasoned TV and stage actor Patrick Shai at a memorial service at the Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Shai's body was found by his wife in the garage of their home in Dobsonville, Soweto, on Saturday. 

People arrived as early as 11am to make sure they got inside.

Gospel singer Omega Khonou performed at the memorial service.

His younger brother Solly Shai, the family spokesperson, said: “Our brother comes from a family of six. He showed us life and direction. Through the grace of God, he worked so hard to reach the stage he was [at in his life].

“I want to tell you something. We come from a poor and humble background. But God helped him to uplift our family and put our name out there. To his wife, we appreciate that you made him a good man. You were always behind him. To his kids, please follow in his footsteps and don't forget that education is key.”

A childhood friend introduced only by his surname, Kunene, said: “I remember when we arrived in Mercy Park [in Dobsonville], we experienced a lot of break-ins and Pat used to chase the thugs. He was a funny person and I enjoyed his company.”

Activist Sihle Sibisi said: “When we talk about Patrick Shai, we talk about a giant. He was a man who became the chosen one. He was able to admit the wrong he was doing.” 

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