ARTS and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has paid tribute to late actress, Shaleen Surtie-Richards.

She made her mark when she played Nenna in Egoli: Place of Gold, and Fiela in Fiela se Kind. She also starred in Generations, 7de Laan, Slay, Hello and Goodbye and Mama Jack.

In 2014, she received a lifetime achievement award from the Royalty Soapie Awards.

In a Twitter thread, Mthethwa wrote: “On this sad occasion, we gathered to mourn the passing of Shaleen Surtie-Richards and to celebrate her life and the contribution she made in our collective effort towards nation-building and social cohesion through drama and film and through her boundless creativity.

“As we gathered at Durbanville Memorial Park today, we shed tears for Shaleen, but we acknowledged the joy she gave us and therefore our tears were those of love and the joy we derived from the practice of her craft and the respect she extended to all of us.

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“The good deeds of Shaleen are not interred with her mortal remains but are with us. We, the title holders of her deeds, must advance them further for the betterment of society. This is what she would have wanted.

“Shaleen played her part to build unity in diversity. She declared: ‘I am who I am’. This proud and defiant assertion of identity and the realisation of the ideals of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society now rest on the shoulders of younger generations.”

Shaleen died last Monday, 7 June, and was buried on Sunday at Durbanville Memorial Park in Cape Town.

News of her death was announced by her friend and actor, Lizz Meiring who, via Twitter, explained that Shaleen’s doctor had wanted to book her into hospital but she had no money.

President Cyril Ramaphosa granted her a category 2 special provincial funeral.