The Cape Flats author and scriptwriter passed away peacefully at his Strandfontein home on Sunday.
The 73-year-old was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.
John hit the spotlight in 2015 when his memoir, Skollie, was turned into a movie.
The film adaptation, called Noem my Skollie, won several local awards, and in 2016 was South Africa’s official entry into the 89th Annual Academy Awards (aka the Oscars) in the category of Best Foreign Language Film Award.
John’s daughter, Janine de Villiers, yesterday confirmed her father had passed away and thanked fans for always believing in him.
“Yes, my dad passed away peacefully here at home. I want to say thank you to all my dad’s fans and everyone who believed in his story. I can only hope the story continues to inspire and motivate people,” Janine told the Daily Voice.
John had been writing and telling stories since he was a little boy, growing up in Kewtown, Athlone, in the 1950s.
His father worked at a dumpsite where he found a typewriter which he gave to his son.
John used the old tikmasjien to write stories until his death.
Since his retirement as a security guard, John had been busy writing stories and scripts, and was the brains behind documentaries like Hard Living Kids and Mr Devious.
He made a name for himself internationally with Noem My Skollie, a crime drama set on the Cape Flats in the 1960s.
It centres around four youngsters - AB (played by actor Dann-Jacques Mouton) and his three best friends, Gimba (Ethan Patton), Gif (Joshua Vraagom) and Shorty (Valentino de Klerk).
The boys become a small gang and when AB is arrested, their friendship is tested.
Many of John’s childhood stories have been recreated for the film, including the time he was jailed for two years in Pollsmoor for theft at the age of 17.
John’s close friend, actor Christian Bennett, who plays Gif in the film, was gutted by his death.
“He was a man responsible for a lot of things in my career and life. I met him in 2001 at Kids Creative Education with kids at risk and on our way to Pollsmoor Prison he told me about this movie. We became very good friends. He used to call me his mieta, his blood brother.”
Award-winning actor, Irshaad Ally, known for his roles in Suidooster and Nommer 37, says he is heartbroken at John’s passing.
“It’s a big loss for us all in the industry. I last saw him a couple of months ago and I still asked him to please translate a script for me and he did it. He didn’t even ask questions, he was professional about it. What I liked about him was he was an upfront, no-nonsense guy,” Irshaad said.
John’s friend, publicist Shihaam Domingo was in tears at the news of his passing.
“Uncle John never stopped dreaming. After Noem My Skollie, he continued to write stories and inspire youth,” she says.
In 2017, Noem My Skollie won five Golden Horns at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), for Best Actor (Dann-Jaques Mouton), Best Supporting Actor (Abduraghmaan Adams), Best Achievement in Costume Design (Emma Moss), Best Achievement in Make-up and Hair (Gaile Shepherd) and Best Production Design (Warren Gray).
Fredericks leaves behind his wife, Una, three daughters and a son.