Tafta mourns talented entertainer

Elaine Jennings will be missed by all at Tafta.

TAFTA is saddened by the loss of much-loved former employee and talented theatrical entertainer, Elaine Jennings, who passed away earlier this month following brief hospitalisation.

As the pioneer of popular entertainment group, The Tafta Revellers, 79-year-old Jennings was well-known for bringing her charismatic flair to local stages and defying old age with decades of vibrant performances.

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Jennings, who had for years called Tafta her home and was an adored member of the Tafta family, was a popular personality among her peers, staff and Durban audiences.

Jennings joined Tafta as a service centre organiser at the Anna Conradie Service Centre after moving to Durban from Johannesburg, where she had performed in professional theatre since the age of 12 and toured with shows throughout South Africa and the then Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).


Elaine Jennings (left) in a publicity shot with Berea Mail for one of her many shows, with Ben Stapersma, Mavis Dickson and Lee Belcher.


During her time at Tafta, Jennings touched the lives of thousands through her work, but her love for performing led her back to the stage when she founded The Tafta Revellers in 1985 and had since directed and choreographed several concerts and performances.

Under Jennings’s leadership, The Revellers performed at venues throughout KwaZulu-Natal including the Durban City Hall and special performances for the Council for the Aged at the Durban ICC as well as for former President F W de Klerk at iconic beachfront hotel, The Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani.

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Despite what she described as ageing ailments, Jennings was fuelled by her passion for music and dance and committed her time and talents to conceptualising routines and rehearsing with the group.

Speaking after a recent performance at the launch of Tafta’s Langeler Towers she said: “Entertaining is a large part of who I am, so every performance is special and feels great. Being part of The Revellers is loads of fun and keeps us young at heart and fit.”

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All at Tafta have been hard hit by news of her sudden passing.

“Friday, 5 May was a sad day for the Tafta family as we heard the news that Elaine had passed away. She was the epitome of all that we aspire to be and do at Tafta. Her infectious smile, her kindness and total love of life inspired people around her. She inspired active ageing,’” said Tafta CEO, Femada Shamam.

She said Elaine’s love and passion for entertaining always had audiences smiling, clapping and nostalgically singing along to old favourites. She sang, danced and loved all that life had to offer.

“The ever talented, vivacious and flamboyant Elaine Jennings will be sorely missed and from all at Tafta we keep her loving husband, Vern and the rest of her family in our thoughts and prayers,” added Shamam.



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