Shai described as a great art educator and encyclopedia of South African arts.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The memorial service of Patrick Molefe Shai was held at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg on Thursday from midday with strings of people lining up to celebrate and honour the veteran actor’s life.
Shai died last Saturday morning at his Soweto home at the age of 66. Shai has appeared on shows such as Soul City, Generations, Bophelo ke Semphekgo, 7de Laan and The River.
Friends and family were expecting around 200 people in the Market Theatre, however, the venue quickly filled up.
Familiar faces in attendance included Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, radio host Penny Lebyane, who was the programme director for the service, actors from Generations, actress Motshabi Tyelele and Mmasechaba Shai, Patrick Shai’s wife.
Solly Shai, the youngest brother of Patrick said his brother was a God-fearing man and this showed throughout the service with the gospel musician performing throughout. Solly praised Patrick’s wife for making "him a good man, you were always behind him". He added that Patrick loved his craft for acting as he changed the background of their family.
The service did not shy away from talking about Shai’s past as a perpetrator, admitting to abusing his wife and later becoming an activist against Gender Based Violence.
A few non-profit organisation representatives called him a ridicule thinker, saying he would be remembered for his accountability, transparency, repentance and resilience.
Thami, a representative from Khuluma Ndoda, a social media movement that helps men talk about abuse and rehabilitate perpetrators said they will continue the narratives of GBV for years to come, led by Shai’s legacy.
Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has described the late Patrick Shai as a great art educator and encyclopedia of South African arts.
"He was genius who possessed such incredible sense of creative imagination. This was man revered as an art educator for his ever readiness to share his knowledge not only of art but knowledge of life in general," he said.
"He had skills and experience with the young and emerging artists and was a mobile encyclopedia of the South African arts."
According to Mthethwa, Shai who was affectionately known as 'Bra Pat', was a very approachable person who was willing to listen and learn from others.
"We understood Bra Pat and he was a well-known stage, film and television actor, director and mentor. People have said a mouthful here (including that) he was a performer whose performances were always legendary because of the passion, talent, skill and rarity he always brought to any medium he was on.
"Through his craft of acting and performing he contributed immensely to the South African cultural landscape stretching beyond the realm of performance but also mentoring others and advocating for the arts and culture to be recognised as important field in society."
Shai’s funeral service will take place on January 29.
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Video Courtesy of Dignifind.
If you or someone you know needs help, The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) can be reached at: 0800 21 22 23 or 0800 456 789 (24 hours, 7 days a week).