Actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards at the Music Alla Kaap show. Picture: Ian Landsberg
Actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards at the Music Alla Kaap show. Picture: Ian Landsberg

4 notable roles of Shaleen Surtie-Richards in film and TV

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Jun 7, 2021

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South African actress, Shaleen Surtie-Richards who passed away on Monday made a profound impact on South Africa’s entertainment and arts industry.

The actress was a household name for decades, making her mark as the iconic Ester (Nenna) Willemse on South Africa's first television soapie. She became a household name performing in “Egoli: Place of Gold”, SABC2’s “7de Laan”, Showmax’s “Villa Rosa”, and SABC1’s “Generations”. She also hosted her own talk show, “Shaleen” and starred in hit films such as “Fiela se Kind”, “Mama Jack”, “Treurgrond”, and “Vaselinetjie” among others.

Take a look at four of her most notable roles in film, TV and theatre.

The South African actress’ breakthrough role came in the 1988 feature film, “Fiela se Kind”.

The film based in rural South Africa sees a woman takes in a young boy and raising him as her own.

Nine years later, authorities discover that she isn't his biological mother, and send him to live with a poor family.

She also played Ester (Nenna) Willemse on M-Net’s “Egoli: Place of Gold”. This was the first soapies on South African screens in 1992.

Another role of Surtie-Richards that had fans glued to their screens was her role on “Villa Rosa”.

She also played the role of Charmaine on’s “Broken Vows”.

Richards also took her versatility to the stage, performing in a variety of plays, including the one-woman show ,“Shirley Valentine”, for which she won a Fleur de Cap award.

The veteran actress also appeared at some of the country’s most popular festivals, like Suidoosterfees, KKNK and the Grahamstown festival.

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