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Artists share their special memories of Shaleen Surtie-Richards ahead of funeral

Shaleen Surtie-Richards and Marc Lottering in Scrooge. Picture supplied

Shaleen Surtie-Richards and Marc Lottering in Scrooge. Picture supplied

Published Jun 13, 2021


Cape Town - Friends and family will say their final goodbyes to Shaleen Surtie-Richards today in Durbanville where she will receive a special provincial funeral.

Surtie-Richards died on Monday at a Cape Town guest house. Born in Upington and raised in Cape Town, Surtie-Richards, 66, is best known for her roles in Egoli: Place of Gold and Fiela se Kind, among other TV shows, films and theatre productions.

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Her impact on the local entertainment scene is immeasurable and for many, she was a mentor, an aunt and a mother figure. Some local artists shared their fondest memories of the local icon.

Marc Lottering

My fondest memory of Shaleen is absolutely one of infectious laughter regardless of what she was going through privately. She always made the choice to ensure that our every get-together would be a joyous one.

And sometimes even onstage – with an entire audience looking on – she would deviously give me that look that says SOMEONE JUST FARTED AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHO IT IS.

This of course would make us both cry with laughter. Such was the nature of our 30-year friendship.

SA has lost a true icon who managed to effortlessly creep into the hearts of all South Africans.

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Bianca Le Grange

Bianca Le Grange. File Pic

Shaleen was like a mother in the industry for me… and when I played Cinderella in a Janice Honeyman pantomime, she played my fairy godmother and I was so nervous.

I recall performing at the Festive Lights Switch-On and afterwards, Shaleen invited me to her hotel room and we had such a great time hanging out. I fell asleep on her couch and she and Vicky Sampson just tucked me in, such great memories.

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Shaleen was just who she was... she was our auntie and she paved the way for us and now it’s up to us to pave the way for others.

Marlon Roelfze

Marlon Roelfze. Picture: Facebook

Shaleen helped me back when we were in Egoli. She was the one who motivated me back then to do the Iron Man competition.

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When I lost my mother, Shaleen was there for me, often we would argue and she would scold me, and then for days, we wouldn’t speak. But I would always make up with her because she was like my mom.

If Shaleen and I would be chilling under her lapa (at her home) she would play music, her music, Peabo Bryson, the O’Jay’s and all that old school, I am really going to miss her.

I can’t wait to see her again, in heaven because she was an angel on earth and now in heaven. Her death will make so many people realise what we are going through in the industry in South Africa.

Noel Oostendorp (Facebook)

Noel Oostendorp. Picture: Facebook

On Thursday (before she died) we spoke about cake and I said I would organise a lemon meringue. I asked you if you would be on set on Monday and your words were…”hey el sal maak dat ek daar is.”

This morning, I had lemon meringue and banoffee, I even had an argument with cast members that if you said you would be here, you would be there, cause that is how I know you. You never made empty promises. Only to find out that there was a good reason why you were not there because you were no longer with us.

I will miss our random chats, our silly moments, but most of all, your love, not just me but for everyone in the arts.

Weekend Argus

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