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A Huge Talent Gone Too Soon: Jannes Eiselen

Photo: Jannes Eiselen in Black Sails, courtesy of Starz

The South African Guild of Actors mourns the passing of one of our stalwart members, Jannes Eiselen, who left us on 23rd September just two days after his 36th birthday. A gifted actor and sought-after voice artist, Jannes had been wrestling with a brain tumour for several years. Whilst enduring surgeries and multiple treatments and therapies, Jannes continued to build a promising career, appearing on local and international screens while his voice commanded the local airwaves.

Jannes was born in New York, but moved to South Africa at a young age, graduating with a drama degree from the University of Pretoria in 2002. The versatile actor had a variety of roles in BackstageJozi StreetsSewende LaanErfsondes, Binnelanders  and Hillside. Jannes recently made a memorable impact as the Scottish character Kerrin Edwards in Skeem Saamjoking that he couldn’t walk 10 yards through Polokwane without being stopped for a ‘selfie’! His international screen career included roles in Zero Hour and The Sinking of the Laconia, while he excelled in the role Dufresne the Quartermaster in the first season of the international pirate series Black Sails. Sadly, Jannes was forced to withdraw due to illness and had to be replaced for the second season.

Black Sails star, the British actor Toby Stephens, told his Twitter followers, “So sad to hear that my dear friend and colleague Jannes Eiselen, passed away. RIP. I’ll miss you Bru”. Fans responded: “That’s so sad, his evolution as Dufresne was bloody awesome. What a terrible loss”; “I really, really liked his Dufresne. This is very sad indeed”; “I can still not believe it… he was such an interesting part in BS …RIP!!!”

Friends have been sharing memories of Jannes on social media.  “I think others will nod and agree, your most celebrated and enduring memory will be your sincere love for others. You spent the time, even if it was a quick ‘Wazzzzzup!’”; “He placed such a high value on quality time with his friends, and I place the highest value on the time I got to share with him”.

A lover of Shakespeare, Jannes played Claudio in a staging of Much Ado about Nothing and Lennox in Macbeth. He was also a two-time finalist for the prestigious Brett Goldin Royal Shakespeare Bursary. Jannes leaves his wife of eight years, Claudia Moruzzi, to whom SAGA extends our sincere condolences.

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