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South African Actor Charles 'Big Boy' Maja Has Passed Away

Tributes are pouring in for the beloved actor who starred in the popular South African television drama 'Skeem Saam'.

South African actor and former radio broadcaster, Charles Maja, has passed away according to reports by TimesLIVE. Affectionately known as "Big Boy", the name of the character he played on the popular local drama series Skeem Saam, the actor reportedly suffered a fatal stroke earlier this morning while in the northern province of Limpopo. He was just 54.


Skeem Skaam, which was written by Winnie Serite, first aired in October of 2011. It immediately resonated with South Africans who could relate to the lives and backgrounds of many of the characters. The plot of the drama series focuses on young South Africans who are often thrown into adult situations. It explores, among many other themes, adolescence, coming-of-age, independence and parents learning to navigate "empty nests".

Maja was known for his dedication to the craft with people sharing numerous tales of seeing him rehearsing his lines even as he rode as a passenger in a taxi. His mentor Paul Rapetsoa describes the actor saying, "As a trained stage actor myself I taught Charles in radio dramas, you are act like in a stage or TV show." Rapetsoa added, "He was always hungry to learn. Even when he got a job in Skeem Saam he told me. His death is a big lost to our industry."

Tributes have been pouring in from South Africans on social media for Maja since the news of his death emerged. From sharing stories of their favorite "Big Boy" funny moments to describing how the actor's life impacted the lives of those around him, it's clear that the loss to not only the South African television industry but to the country as a whole, is a tremendous one. Robala ka kgotso.

Read some of the heartfelt tributes below:






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Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP) (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images.

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