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DEATH OF LINDELANI BUTHELEZI (article first published : 2007-03-31)

It is with much sadness that I report that popular former Durban actor, Lindelani Buthelezi, has died at the age of 38.

I knew his father – Patrick Buthelezi, the respected music producer from Radio Zulu and later Ukhozi FM –from my early days of working with the SABC. I remember the father’s pride as the boy grew into a teenager and it soon became evident that he more than average acting talent.

Lindelani Buthelezi did his drama and television training in Durban and he appeared in no less than19 different productions for the Natal Performing Arts Council (NAPAC) now the Playhouse Company.

He moved on to Johannesburg – as so many of our talented graduates of the Technikon and Universities do – and was soon much in demand there. He played one of the leading characters in the television series Hard Copy currently screened on SABC3.

In 2005, he appeared Hostile Takeover, Mike van Graan’s high adrenalin satire on BEE directed by Malcolm Purkey for the Market Theatre. Basically a two-hander, the play was a good vehicle for the articulate capabilities of Lindelani Buthelezi and Martin le Maitre. They were excellent foils for each other and did justice to van Graan’s swiftly-moving dialogue and ironic humour.

I fondly remember the last time I saw Lindelani to chat – it was in Grahamstown at the National Arts Festival. For those unfamiliar with the layout of Grahamstown, the 1820 Settlers Monument is perched on top of a hill and if wind is blowing from any direction, you’re going to get hit by it.

Late one night, I was coming out of the Monument having been working in the press office loading stories for artSMart. A combi came racing past me with two guys shouting out of the window. My first instinct was to ignore them until I realised my name was being called. The combi zoomed into a parking space and out of it spilled Lindelani and James Ngcobo. “It’s the Zulu Boys!” was their gleeful shout as they embraced me with delight.

That’s the image I would like to remember – of Lindelani dancing around a freezing cold car park. Among friends, full of fun and energy, successful and happy that he was blessed with work in the theatre and television industry.

We will miss him. – Caroline Smart




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