Top Mozambican actress, producer and director, Hermelinda Simela, has died while giving birth in hospital at the José Macamo General Hospital in Maputo on Tuesday night (August 10).

The 38-year-old was being treated for complications caused by the delivery. Her newborn daughter is in good health.

“The country has lost a strong, resilient woman, an exemplary mother and, above all, an engine of our dreams,” Simela’s longtime friend and colleague Alvim Cossa told the BBC.

“Hermelinda encouraged theatre people and created opportunities for actors to succeed.”

Simela scooped best supporting actress at the 2013 Africa Movie Academy Awards for her Virgin Margarida role.

Born in the province of Nampula, Simela had a 23-year artistic career, much of it linked to the Theatre of the Oppressed in Mozambique, which uses theatre as a tool for social intervention. She also worked with children.

Simela acted in films such as “Mosquito”, by João Nuno Pinto, “Comboio de Sal e Açúcar” [“The Train of Salt and Sugar”] and “Virgem Margarida”, both by Licínio Azevedo.

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