Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting a special provincial funeral for late veteran actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards.
Surtie-Richards, 66, was found dead in a guest house in Cape Town on Monday.
She had been filming scenes for Afrikaans-language television channel kykNET’s programme Arendsvlei.
The policy for state funerals allows for such a funeral to be held for a distinguished person specifically designated by the country’s president on request from a provincial premier, Winde said yesterday.
If Ramaphosa approves the request, the ceremony for Surtie-Richards will be held on Sunday, he added.
“The nation has lost a giant who will be remembered for her immense talent and contributions to our creative industry. I extend my heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and loved ones at this difficult time and look forward to a positive response to our request from President Ramaphosa,” Winde said.
Surtie-Richards had a history of battles with illnesses such as diabetes and heart problems, but an autopsy will be completed before the cause of her death can be determined, family spokesman and producer Alistair Izobell said in a statement.
Izobelle dismissed speculation that the actress took her own life.
Surtie-Richards was well known for her role in the M-Net series “Egoli”, where she played Nenna, as well as for her character Mattie on “Generations”.
She had reportedly bagged about 51 awards during a career spanning over three decades after she became a professional actress in 1984.
Ramaphosa also paid tribute to the educator-turned-performer on Monday night, saying her artistic versatility and humility touched generations.
“On stage and screen Shaleen Surtie-Richards held a mirror to our unjust past and gave us hope for our future as a nation.”
African News Agency