Keegan Reddy, better known as ‘Warrapen Keegan’ for his leading
role in a viral video sensation which swept over South Africa in 2016, died in
a house fire in Seatides, north of Durban, on Saturday night.
Update (3 June, 18:00): Police spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala, confirmed that Tongaat police are investigating a case of murder in Reddy’s untimely demise. Unconfirmed reports allege that the blaze was preceded by an altercation at the residence. Family members, who wish to remain anonymous, have rubbished the claims.
Details of the Durban house fire
The 28-year-old Reddy shot to stardom three years ago when a
backyard scuffle broke out between friends. The infamous video, which shows
Reddy handing out a few vicious slaps to his braai-side associate, coined a
phrase which resonated across the country.
According to CERT Emergency Response in Tongaat, first responders were called to a blaze in Kallies Lane, Seatides, shortly after 22:00 on Saturday nighty. CERT Emergency Response Tongaat chairperson, Nazir Sadack, confirmed that, by the time the team arrived, the deadly blaze had already engulfed the house and access to the premises was limited. Sadack explained:
“Several attempts were made to gain access to the room to rescue the individual unsuccessfully due to the flames and smoke.
Once the fire was extinguished, a sweep of the home was conducted by the fire department. Sadly an individual, identified as 28-year-old Keegan Reddy – the resident’s son – succumbed resulting from the fire.”
For most, Reddy will best be remembered for his role in the
viral video. The phrase “Warrapen Keegan” became a slogan for t-shirts and
coffee mugs. Reddy, unwittingly, became an internet sensation.
After a flurry of slaps had been dished out by Reddy, a
third person intervened and attempted to break up the scuffle. The mediator then asked Reddy “what happened”,
which, due to the Durban accent and the heat of the moment, came out as “Warrapen
Keegan”. A proudly South African meme was born.
Speaking to East Coast Radio a few months after the video
went viral, Reddy explained what caused the scuffle:
“They picked on my wife actually. We were having a few beers at a braai together and it just got out of hand. I don’t want to get into details because the guy is going to feel sad if I talk about him on-air. He’s my friend now, so I don’t want to disappoint him.”