Home Lifestyle Mzansi in shock after legendary actress dies

Mzansi in shock after legendary actress dies

The family of the legendary actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards has confirmed her death. She first hit the stage in 1974 and has since won many awards for her work. In celebration of her love, Food For Mzansi shares her favourite Cape Malay curry recipe.


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South Africans are reeling from shock after the family of legendary actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards confirmed her death. The 66-year-old was found dead in a Cape Town guest house this morning.

While details about her death are still sketchy, it is understood that Surtie-Richards was in Cape Town to film on the Afrikaans telenovela, Arendsvlei. The actress had many health problems, including diabetes and asthma.

Surtie-Richards is perhaps most famously known for her role as Fiela in the 1988 film, Fiela se Kind. She also played Ester “Nenna” Willemse for 18 seasons of M-Net’s first hit soapie, Egoli: Place of Gold.

Born in Upington in the Northern Cape in 1955, Surtie-Richards-Richards took South Africa by storm, winning people over with her acting skills and warm personality. What few know about the actress is that she was also a qualified kindergarten teacher, and taught between 1974 and 1984.

Surtie-Richards also appeared in shows such as 7de Laan and Generations, and even hosted her own television show, simply titled Shaleen, on M-Net in 2000.

While many knew her from her television appearances, Surtie-Richards has also graced theatre stages the world over – from South Africa to London – and worked with theatre-makers such as the acclaimed Athol Fugard and Pieter Dirk-Uys.

The actress and television personality snagged 40 accolades in her lifetime, including a Fleur du Cap Award for her 2008 performance in Shirley Valentine.

Shaleen’s Cape Malay curry

We remember “Nenna” with one of her delicious recipes for a Cape Malay curry served in an Argilla bowl.

  • 1kg lamb or beef knuckles
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 3 to 4 whole cloves
  • 2 to 3 cardamom seeds
  • 1 can of whole Roma tomatoes and some juice from the can
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fine cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fine coriander
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 crushed garlic
  • 125ml coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, finely chopped coriander leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mixed vegetables (optional)


  1. Place meat in a medium-sized Gourmet Argilla bowl. Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the meat.
  2. Bake at 180 degrees with the lid on for an hour and a half to two hours, or until the meat is tender.
  3. Serve with rice and garnish with coriander leaves.

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Lucinda Dordley
Lucinda Dordley
Words and people: these have been Lucinda's only two passions from a very young age. As soon as she found out that journalism was the perfect marriage of the two, she knew it was what she had to be. She has worked in many spheres within journalism, including crime and human interest news, lifestyle, and tech for publications such as The Cape Argus, Fairlady Magazine, Cape Town Etc, Getaway Magazine and Popular Mechanics. In her spare time, she can be found with a book in hand or chatting to someone to find out what their story is.

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