Boeta Dickie knew how to light up a room

Sedick Tassiem.

Sedick Tassiem, a band member, minstrel performer and District Six community worker, will be remembered for his ability to light up a room and make people smile, say those who knew him.

Mr Tassiem, also known as “Boeta Dickie”, died of Covid-19 on Thursday August 12. He was 81.

He had been living with his lifelong friend, Shaheeda Daniels, 68, and her husband, Anwar Daniels, 71, for more than 45 years.

Ms Daniels said Mr Tassiem had been in Groote Schuur Hospital for three weeks due to complications from Covid-19. “The morning before he went to hospital, he started to cough, then I called an e-hailing service to take him to the hospital, and the hospital called me back to say that he has Covid-19.”

When Ms Daniels called the hospital in the early hours of Thursday August 12 and learnt that Mr Tassiem had died at 4.20am.

Ms Daniels said he had always referred to himself as an “international star”.

He was part of the Golden Strings band in Lansdowne, where he played the hand drums; the Angeliere Singkoor Malay choir; and the D6 Hanover Minstrels.

He sang and danced with those groups for many years at the old Luxurama Theatre in Wynberg and at the Amphitheatre at the Waterfront. With the Golden Strings, he travelled all over the country and even performed at weddings and birthdays.

He always wore his trademark hat, ascot and matching colour jacket.

Ziyaad Williams, from the D6 Hanover Minstrels, said Mr Tassiem had always been punctual and neatly dressed. “For every Tweede Nuwe Jaar, he would come ready to the minstrel room, blowing his whistle and shaking his maracas and then the whole troupe would see him and join in with their instruments.”

Mr Williams said Mr Tassiem was really jolly for his age and would be missed.

Golden Strings member Shaheen Hendricks said Mr Tassiem had known how to draw a crowd and he would leave lasting legacy. “He could light up any venue, any reception or dance area, and that was his one strength in the music industry.”

He had known how to entertain and put a smile on any audience member’s face, he said.

During the past 11 years, Mr Tassiem worked as an usher at the Labia Theatre up until the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Labia Theatre manager Ludi Kraus said: “He just arrived one day, over 10 years ago, and never left and he worked himself in and became one of the most loyal members of the Labia family.”

Mr Kraus said Mr Tassiem had been flamboyant, immaculately dressed, and always at the service of his great love, the Labia. “A legend in his time, Sedick will not easily be forgotten,” he said.

Ms Daniels said Mr Tassiem had been born in Salt River, though his parents had died when he was still young and he had been estranged from his brother and sister.

“We met Sedick one day at the Luxurama Theatre and he was asking me and my husband for a lift to Salt River which we gave him.”

Mr Tassiem became a regular visitor to the Daniels family when they were staying in Bo-Kaap. He moved in with them and became a part of the family, moving with them to Salt River and then to District Six where they have been staying for the past 25 years.

During lockdown, Mr Tassiem helped Ms Daniels with the District Six Foundation non-profit, distributing food to the most vulnerable families in the community.

“Sedick was a jolly, fantastic, fabulous, stunning, well-dressed and well-mannered person,” she said.

He was laid to rest at Klip Road Cemetery on Thursday August 12.

Sedick Tassiem standing with a poster of his younger self.