The sudden death of legendary actor Patrick Shai on Saturday morning has been met with sadness and a sense of loss.
Shai was found dead in his garage at his Dobsonville home in Soweto.
“South Africa has lost an extraordinary human being whose role, unrivalled talent, and outstanding service to society can never be replaced. May his soul rest peacefully,” said the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).
The CGE said it was saddened to learn about the passing of the veteran actor and gender-based violence activist.
CGE Chairperson Tamara Mathebula sent “heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and those that Ntate Shai worked within the arts and GBV fraternity”.
Mathebula added: “The news of the passing of Ntate Shai has been met with sadness by all of us at the Commission.
“He will be sorely missed by those who had embraced him as a human rights and gender activist.
“We have worked closely with him in advancing gender equality and issues of men and boys in South Africa.”
Presiding Officers of Parliament said they had “learned with shock and disbelief” of the “passing-on of one of the foremost and celebrated thespians of our era”.
National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and the National Council of Provinces Chairperson Amos Masondo, described Shai as a role model par excellence.
“Shai was not just an artist; he was a legend, an inspiring figure beyond the arts fraternity, a changemaker, an exemplary leader, and a true activist and advocate against gender-based violence”, they said in a joint statement.
“We are gutted and bitterly saddened by the loss of such a titanic and incomparable talent, an outstanding human being with a humble personality.”
Through his organisation, Khulumandoda, Shai partnered with Parliament in its National Men’s Parliament initiative, which brought together about 250 men and boys from across the country.
The organisation engaged them to become agents of change and integral partners in the prevention of and response in tackling the spread of HIV, Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, and other social ills.