- Shafick April, 82, served as president of the Cape Malay Choir Board for over 30 years.
- He recently had a stent replacement and was subsequently found to have Covid-19.
- Described as intelligent and knowledgeable, his nephew says his replacement has "big boots to fill".
Shafick April was selected to be president of the Cape Malay Choir Board in the 1980s, and kept on being re-elected every five years until he was in his 80s, his nephew said on Tuesday.
"He was a legend in our sport. Administrative wise, he was excellent," Riedewaan Kamish said.
"Over the years, he built a wealth of knowledge and experience. In our fraternity, in all spheres, everyone knew Mr April. Even City Council respected him".
April, 82, died on Monday evening.
Kamish said he had complained he couldn't breathe about two weeks ago and was rushed to hospital.
He was fitted with a stent and recovered enough to be moved from the coronary care unit to a normal ward.
"Last Saturday, he still phoned me to say he is now feeling much better but doesn't have his appetite. Later, everybody tried to phone him but he didn't answer".
Kamish said they then received a call from the hospital saying they had tried everything to save him. They also informed the family he had Covid-19.
April's wife died a few years ago.
The couple did not have children, but Kamish and his sisters were like their children, said April's nephew.
"He took me to the rugby and choir singing. Everybody was under the impression that I was his son until I became one of the secretaries of the board and they could see we had different surnames".
"Whoever takes over [as president] has big boots to fill".
The District 6 Working Committee (D6WC) said it had a longstanding and treasured friendship with April and the choir, which performed at all of their major events.
The committee's chairman Shahied Ajam, who died of a heart attack in June, had campaigned with April for restitution for the people of District Six.
"He was revered by the community and will be sorely missed," said newly appointed D6WC co-chairs Dr Fawzy Basardien and Zahrah Nordien.
"We honour both these extraordinary men for their immense contribution to the community and we deeply mourn their passing as a community. We pledge to continue to honour their legacies and to fulfil their wishes for a rebuilt and reunited District 6".
Artscape CEO Marlene le Roux paid her last respects, describing April's death as a "loss to the arts community".
"It is indeed a loss to the arts community to have lost one of the iconic cultural figures in Cape Town," she said on Tuesday.