The family of revered playwright, actor and retired radio broadcaster Paul Rapetsoa confirmed on Wednesday that he died a week after testing positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Rapetsoa, affectionately known as the godfather of township theatre, died at the Mediclinic hospital in Polokwane, Limpopo, on Tuesday evening. He was hospitalised for seven days after complaining about chest pains and shortness of breath.
‘‘Bra Paul was living with diabetes but I have never seen him in such a helpless condition. One thing that has triggered all these dynamics would be him having tested positive for Covid-19,’’ Rapetsoa’s son Matome told City Press.
Matome said his father was admitted to hospital on Monday last week.
‘‘It’s something we have to make peace with as a family that it [Covid-19] is something that has made a contribution. Things such as diabetes happen with age but if someone lived up to age 70 it should show you that this person has been very careful and sensitive about their well-being. But then again when God decides to take someone who are we to disagree.’’
Rapetsoa’s death has been described as a great loss to the entertainment industry.
He founded the Paul Rapetsoa Institution of Dramatic Arts which focuses on developing actors from townships such as Seshego in Polokwane through theatre shows and motivational talks.
He immensely contributed to the arts through the creation of radio dramas for Thobela FM.
At the time of his death he had a cameo role as malome Josias on SABC 1’s soapie Skeem Saam.
He leaves behind his wife of 46 years, Flora Rapetsoa, three children and seven grandchildren.
Matome said the family was devastated by his death. He added that the legendary actor will be missed for his jovial character.
‘‘He was a ball of energy and passion reignited as you can imagine. He was an ever-smiling guy, full of energy. He was just a character but as a father he was perfect. He would support and protect you then come later to correct you when you are wrong,’’ Matome said.
‘‘Even when he was in hospital there was still laughter. I remember this one time he had no appetite and I was trying to convince him to have something to eat. He joked ‘you bring me restaurant food because you think when I say I don’t have an appetite you think I don’t have appetite for hospital food, I just don’t have an appetite’ and we all laughed.’’
Rapetsoa will be buried on Sunday but at the time of writing the family had not confirmed when the memorial service will be held.