Minister Nathi Mthethwa on the passing of Living Legend, casting director and industry veteran, Moonyeenn Lee

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19 Jul 2020

We are devastated to learn of the passing of a member of the Living Legends legacy Programme (LLLP), colossal industry veteran and Casting Director, Moonyeenn Lee, who left us yesterday, 18 July, on Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

In her career, spanning nearly five decades, she casted or managed the casting of films such as the Oscar-winning Tsotsi, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, the Oscar-nominated Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Hotel Rwanda and Blood Diamond; the Oscar-shortlisted Black Panther and Emmy-winning series Homeland, among others. Moonyeenn was nominated for two Emmy Awards. 

She was renowned as one of South Africa’s leading agents and represented some of South Africa’s best-known actors through her company, Moonyeenn Lee & Associates (MLA).  She cared deeply for actors and was a fearless defender of their rights. Over the years, she would travel around the world introducing producers and directors to South African actors. She consistently did everything in her power to convince them to cast local actors over foreign actor and her dedication paid off. She was brutally honest, a bit too honest for some and she had a fighting spirit that was fuelled by her commitment to the industry she served.

She received the Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement Award from the SAFTA's in 2017 in recognition of her status as an icon and champion of Actors, Directors and Producers.

She was so much to so many and now, we leave her to continue her journey amongst the stars. The sector has truly lost a Champion.


Media Enquiries:

Masechaba Khumalo: Spokesperson (Minister)

Tel: 066 380 7408 | Email:        

Mr Mickey Modisane: Chief Director Marketing and Communications (Sport)

Tel: 082 992 0101 | Email: 
Ms Zimasa Velaphi: Chief Director Marketing and Communications (Arts and Culture)

Tel: 072 172 8925 | Email:


Issued by: Department of Sport, Arts and Culture