Patrick Shai

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Patrick Shai (19**-2022). Actor on stage and screen.


Born in Dobsonville, Soweto.

Shai later became an advocate against gender-based violence, and was open about his own history as an abuser and how it has impacted his relationship with his family. He went on to found a non-governmental organisation called Khuluma Ndoda[] to help abusive men and became a Brother’s For Life Ambassador, Community Safety Ambassador and the anti-Femicide Champion for the Department of Justice.

In 2019 he was shot 11 times with rubber bullets by police while participating in a protest by when community members of Dobsonville, in Soweto, took to the streets to protest against power cuts in their area.

Shai passed away on Saturday morning 22 January, 2022, leaving his wife Mmasechaba Shai[1] and two children.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

In a career that spanned more than 30 years, he acted in productions on stage, film and TV, and contributed to the industry in a variety of other ways.

Stage: He started career as a dancer at the Safari Ranch with Mzumba African Drama and Ballet, but got his great break when he created and performed the original “Jakes” in the influential play Sophiatown by Junction Avenue Theatre Company. Other appearances include For Your Ears Only, Maru, Nongogo, Tooth and Nail, Baby, Come Duze (1990),

Film:: He appeared in many feature films, including Critical Assignment, 1986 A Place for Weeping (1986), Red Scorpion (1988), Blind Justice (1988), Diamond in the Rough (1988), The Last Samurai (1990), Schweitzer (1990), The Sheltering Desert (1991), Taxi to Soweto (1991) Fools, Place of Weeping, Hold My Hand I'm Dying and Lambarene, Cry, the Beloved Country,

In 1995, he wrote and acted in the film Hearts & Minds (playing the role "Mathews Kage"), winning the Silver Dolphin Award for Best Screenplay at the Festróia - Tróia International Film Festival.

TV work: In 1994, he joined with the cast of drama serial Soul City, and went on to appear in many other shows, including the 1996 BBC mini-series Rhodes (playing the role "Christmas"), Bophelo ke Semphekgo, Hearts and Minds, Soul City, Generations, Ashes to Ashes, Mission Top Secret, Yizo Yizo, Zero Tolerance (playing "Enoch Molope") , Moferefere Lenyalong, Noah's Arc , Moferefere Lenyalon, Hola Mpinji Zone 14, Skeem Saam, 7de Laan (playing "Jacob Moloi" between 2017 and 2020), The River (as "Phasha").

At an organizational level he was a member of the NAC panel of experts and chair of the panel on theatre and performance in 2007. He was also one of the founding members of Free Film Makers of South Africa.

Awards, etc

Silver Dolphin Award for Best Screenplay at the Festróia - Tróia International Film Festival.

He won a Vita Award (Free State region) as best actor for Sophiatown in 1986.

Avanti Award, best supporting actor in a television drama for Soul City.


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

The Tribute, 31 January 1992.

IMDb [2].

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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