Shaleen Surtie-Richards: The final bow of an extraordinary national treasure

Chris Barron pays tribute to the actor Shaleen Surtie-Richards, whose exceptional appeal lay in her quintessential and humorous South Africanness with which all, regardless of colour or class, could identify

13 June 2021 - 00:03 By Chris Barron

Shaleen Surtie-Richards, who has died in Cape Town at the age of 66, was a kindergarten teacher turned actor whose roles in film, television and on stage as Fiela, Nenna and Shirley Valentyn were part of SA’s national heritage and improved the landscape.

Her searingly authentic performance as Fiela in the 1988 film Fiela se Kind helped sweep away apartheid...

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