Dept bids farewell to late SA actor

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pretoria - The Department of Arts and Culture has bid farewell to one of South Africa's most accomplished actors, Zakes Zulu Mokae.

The 75-year-old star died in Las Vegas at the weekend after suffering a stroke.

"We acknowledge his great contribution to both theatre and film and the part he played in the struggle against apartheid. We also recognise that he was a man of conscience, conviction and great courage who believed in what he stood for," said the Ministry of Arts and Culture.

Mokae has represented South Africa on Broadway since the 1960s, imparting his acting skills in a broad range of widely acclaimed productions.

In addition to his stage work, Mokae appeared in such films as "The Comedians," "Darling" and "Cry Freedom" as well as television series such as "The X-Files".

Zakes Mokae was a pioneer, who negotiated and opened the pathway for many South Africans internationally.

"We shall miss him deeply but we shall also remember him for the roles he played, in which he loomed larger than life. These roles captured our imagination and also captivated the world," the department said.

A memorial service will be held at Christ the King in Sophiatown. The date and time will be announced in a later.

Mokae was born 5 August 1934, in Johannesburg and left South Africa in 1962, going to England and then to United States, working on and off-Broadway, in regional theater and in films and television.