Friends and family have been appealing for the safe return of award-winning Durban actor Pranesh Maharaj.
Maharaj, 47, has been missing since February 7 when he left his uMhlanga home to go to the shop to buy cigarettes.
He was wearing black Chinos, a blue T-shirt and blue long sleeve shirt. His vehicle has since been found in Bisho in the Eastern Cape.
Maharaj is known for his roles both on stage and on screen in Thunsil, Bhagawan Gave me This Life, The Indian Detective, The Last Victims, For Better for Worse and Material. He won best supporting actor for his role in the movie, Three Days to Go.
Dawn Gounden, a forensic consultant working with Missing Persons said Maharaj’s sister became alarmed when she could not reach him.
“She last spoke to him on the morning of February 7 when he said he was going to the shop. His phone has since gone unanswered.
“The family are very emotional and frantic to find him. His vehicle was found stripped,” said Gounden.
She said they have even been looking in mortuaries and hospitals.
Fellow actress Jailoshini Naidoo, who starred alongside Maharaj in Three Days to Go, said he is very passionate about the arts.
“He was always pleasant, sweet, kind, and keen to learn. It makes my heart sad to imagine or to think where and what could have happened.
“Not knowing where or what he might be going through, is devastating. I can only imagine what his family is going through. We can only pray for his safety and well-being,” said Naidoo.
JJ Mathura, businesswoman, actress, and former radio and TV presenter describes Maharaj as a fun-loving person who always put his friends and family first.
“It is very worrying that he’s not responding to calls and messages. We met through our professional work. He’s one of those who never shared his issues but your issues became his priority,” she said.
Mathura wrote on Facebook: “It was December 2019, I was feeling very down and then Pranesh Maharaj phoned me. When he heard how I was feeling he drove from Phoenix to uMhlanga at 1:30 am. We sat having coffee and chatting when Pranesh and Vikash started a series of skits to lighten my mood…
“Their alter egos Uncle Bala and Krish took over!! Pranesh is very dear to us, an excellent actor who, in my opinion is very underrated, a man with a heart of gold, always ready to share nuances of his craft.”
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