Inspiration and respect: Family, friends bid farewell to Shaleen Surtie-Richards

Dozens of relatives and close friends flocked to the Durbanville Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon for her special provincial send-off.

Family spokesperson Alistair Izobell welcomes guests to the special provincial funeral of Shaleen Surtie-Richards at the Durbanville Memorial Park on 13 June 2021. Picture: Lizell Persens/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Loved ones from various parts of the country made their way to Cape Town on Sunday to bid farewell to iconic actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards.

The 66-year-old died at a Cape Town guest house last week.

She garnered 60 awards during her 37-year long tenure.

Dozens of relatives and close friends flocked to the Durbanville Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon for her special provincial send-off.

The late performer's niece, Michelle de Bruyn delivered a moving tribute to her beloved aunt.

"Shaleen Surtie-Richards wasn't a star because of the characters that she portrayed, she was a star because of her ability to inspire character in others, to take that spark and encourage all of us to dig deep into the core of being and find the flame of our magic and if you truly embrace it and celebrate who you are, you can be anything."

Arts Minister Nathi Mthethwa paid homage to the trailblazer.

"We've shed tears for Shaleen but we acknowledge the joy she gave us and therefore our tears are those of love, they are those of joy we've derived from the practice of her craft and the respect she extended to all of us."

The actor's loved ones, though, called on Minister Mthethwa to help launch a fund to support those in the entertainment industry.

One of Surtie-Richards' close friends, Rif'at Browers, reiterated that if her royalties were paid to her, she would not have struggled financially during her final days.

Browers delivered the vote of thanks during the late performer's provincial send-off, where he shared his views.

"Shaleen was loved by the people but she was abandoned by the system. In this venue, I say to Minister Nathi Mthethwa and plead with you, please let us launch a fund that will ensure the longevity of all South African people in the arts and entertainment industry."

Shaleen Surtie-Richards will be cremated during a private ceremony on Monday.

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