Shaleen Surtie-Richards (Ouma Grietjie)
Shaleen Surtie-Richards is best known for her title role in the 1988 feature film Fiela se Kind (Fiela's Child), and as Ester (Nenna) Willemse in the M-Net soap opera Egoli: Place Of Gold.
Shaleen was born in Upington and schooled both there and in Cape Town. After qualifying as a kindergarden teacher, she taught in both cities between 1974 and 1984. She took many roles in amateur stage productions during her time as a teacher and was also active in productions of the Department of Education’s Theatre-in-Education from 1982 to 1984.
She became a professional actress in 1984 and has since become known as a legend of the South African stage and screen. Her stage work over the past 30 years includes productions by some of the country’s leading directors. She appeared on stage in all the main centers of the country, as well as London’s West End, and has participated in both the Grahamstown and Edinburgh Festivals. Perhaps her most memorable stage work to date was her much-lauded performance of the iconic Willy Russell play, Shirley Valentine.
On television she has had recurring roles on three other South African soapies, Generations, 7de Laan and Villa Rosa. In 2012 she starred as the inimitable Aunty Granny in die hilarious kykNET sitcom, Rugby Motors. She also appeared in the South African films Nag van die 19de (1992) and Leon Schuster's Mama Jack (2005).