The thespian community is mourning a great loss, following the passing of actor, director and playwright, Essop Khan on Monday.
Khan, who was one of the founders of EKMA productions, was said to have passed away on Monday morning surrounded by family, friends and loved ones. He was laid to rest at the Browns Avenue Cemetery in Sydenham.
Having been in the theatre industry for over 50 years, Khan together with his partners and friends at EKMA Productions, Mohammed Ali and Savy Ramsamy, have graced stages both locally and internationally.
As a testament to their contributions to the theatre industry, both Khan and Ali received the Life Time Achievement Award. In addition to this, Khan and EKMA Productions also gave back to various organisations such as Cansa, Hospices, and feeding schemes to name a few.
Speaking to the Chatsworth Tabloid, one of Khan’s protégés, Warrick Frank, reminisced on the time he spent with Khan.
Frank stated that after studying performing arts in 2011, Khan gave him a huge break by taking Frank under his wing to join his theatre company.
Frank joined Ramsay, Ali and Khan on stage in their latest production at the time, “On Common Ground”, along with the late Comedian/Actor Melvyn David and Narusha Chetty.
“Essop gave me more than just a chance to perform; he nurtured all novice actors and shared with us his wealth of knowledge and experience. He protected us as a parent would and to him we were all his children.
“I grew closer to Essop over the years and he became more than just my director, he was a friend, a confidant and my mentor.
“He instilled in me many morals, values and always made sure that the artists from his stable maintained a level of discipline in the arts and carried themselves out well which has given me and many others longevity over the years in the arts,” said Frank.
Speaking on Khan’s impact on him and the theatre industry, Frank said, “He sacrificed a lot for theatre and the arts, bringing theatre
to communities that were not exposed to live entertainment.
He also supported many cultural organizations, schools, temples, sporting bodies and campaigns in fund-raising initiatives through his productions all around Africa. Apart from his brilliant writing, directing and acting skills, his extraordinary flair for comedy made him a household name. His generosity, gentle spirit and humble nature made everyone who came in contact with him, love him even more. I am absolutely honoured to have had such a remarkable person such as Essop in my life. The funny antics on and off stage, the life lessons and the experiences he gave me has moulded me into the artist I am today. I have the best memories with him, memories I will treasure for the rest of my life.
“I will miss him greatly and I will certainly miss our long conversations about life and the arts. With the production I got involved in away from EKMA, he was always there to support me and was the perfect sounding board with the greatest advice on hand. Essop Khan has given myself and many other artists a platform to perform and showcase our abilities. He gave many the opportunities to work and make an honest living in the arts. I will forever be grateful for that. I find comfort in honouring and paying tribute to him through every performance. During this trying time as I mourn his passing, I keep hearing his voice echoing in my head saying what he has always said to me, ‘I helped you find the strength in your wings, now fly my baby, fly!’” concluded Frank.