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A H I S T O R I C M U LT I - M E D I A E X P E R I E N C E

EXHIBITION IT’S A FINE LINE is a mobile multi-media exhibition that will visit schools across South Africa’s rural and urban settings in this, the milestone year.


A WALK THROUGH THE EXHIBITION MESSAGE - Constitution Hill MESSAGE - The Ichikowitz Family Foundation FOREWORD - Thembinkosi Goniwe OUR CONSTITUTION - Our Bill of Rights A COMMENTARY - Millard Arnold THE ARTWORKS ARTIST PROFILE - Dean Simon MEMORIES - Leon Wessels

What is history all about? Reconciling the past with dreams of the future. It is a metaphysical challenge, and it is precisely the raison d’étre behind The Ichikowitz Family Foundation’s commission of Dean Simon’s compelling and illuminating work, IT’S A FINE LINE. Millard Arnold


THE EXHIBITION The journey that led to the signing of the Constitution is one that

South Africa’s heritage. Many of these individuals and events have

spans almost a century. It tells the stories of innumerable heroes,

never before been given the prominence they deserve.

known and unknown, some often forgotten, who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of others.

The title of the exhibition recognises things are not always what they seem: at first glance, they may be deceiving. IT’S A FINE

The Ichikowitz Family Foundation commissioned

LINE asks us to continuously probe and traverse the fine lines

internationally-renowned artist Dean Simon to immortalise

between fact and fiction, between justice and power, reality and

some of these different people, places and events along the

ideals, modernity and fundamentalism.

country’s road to democracy, to acknowledge the sacrifices made along the way, and to embrace the principles of the world’s most

Inspect the 16 drawings first hand, up close and personal. A series

progressive Constitution.

of short films is screened alongside the artworks to further explain their historical context of the artworks. IT’S A FINE LINE asks of

This multi-media experience IT’S A FINE LINE combines 16

all of us to communicate with those from a different paradigm.

hyper-realistic drawings with rare archive footage to bring to life

It asks of us to face one of the great challenges of life.

some of the key history makers and events that shaped

MESSAGE from Dawn Robertson CEO CONSTITUTION HILL On Tuesday 10th December 1996 on International Human

and democracy but it will also further opinion and widen

Rights Day, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa

perspective of past events in order to create a very different

was signed by President Nelson Mandela. Declared the

future. It is vital that children and young adults be taught the

supreme law of the country, it provides the legal foundation for

values of the Constitution from an early age. Furthering our

the existence of the republic, sets out the rights and duties of its

participation in this campaign, we look forward to being a part of

citizens, and defines the structure of the government (outlined

the e-curriculum that has been developed for high school students

on page 6). This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of

in which these magnificent drawings will be used as a tool for

this sacred law. A distinct contrast to our recent past, this law

education. There isn’t a better time than now for students to learn

recognises its citizens as equal individuals, promising never to

about rights, responsibilities and respect in order to promote

discriminate again.

responsible citizenship.

We are delighted to celebrate the historic 20th anniversary of our Constitution through collaborative events and partnerships like this multi-media exhibition that will kick-start the dynamic #IAMCONSTITUTION campaign. Nowhere else can the story of South Africa’s turbulent past and its extraordinary transition to democracy be told in a more apt environment than at


Constitution Hill. Many of the stalwarts featured in the Exhibition

Constitution Hill is home to the Constitutional Court of South

had a personal and often painful connection to the Old Fort

Africa. This iconic venue, situated in the Johannesburg CBD, is also

prison complex, so it’s always a privilege to host their families at

open to the public for guided tours. It has become an important

such memorable gatherings. Constitution Hill occupies

platform for heritage, education, and tourism-related programmes.

such an indelible place in the consciousness of the nation and we encourage all South Africans to join us in celebrating the birthplace of our democracy and the protector of our human rights. The Exhibition will not only offer its visitors an informed and engaging experience related to constitutionalism, human rights

It is vital that children and young adults be taught the values of the Constitution from an early age.

MESSAGE from Ivor Ichikowitz CHAIRMAN, THE ICHIKOWITZ FAMILY FOUNDATION It is a great privilege to play our part in celebrating some

South Africa’s Constitution is one of the proudest achievements of

of the giants who laid the foundations for a free, non-racial

our young democracy. As our country reaches an inflection point

and democratic South Africa. Our multi-media exhibition

in the development of our democracy, many South Africans forget

covering over 100 years of South Africa’s history is designed to

how much we have achieved in such a short time. We also forget

stimulate constructive dialogue and debate amongst ourselves.

that today there are millions of people around the world who are

We can only be the better for it. Dialogue lies at the heart of

still fighting for the very rights enshrined in our Constitution.

any civilization; it has always been Africa’s great legacy, and

Rights that we now take for granted, every day.

it is Africa’s gift to the world. It is always the right time for dialogue. But if ever there was a time that South Africa and the

Our #IAMCONSTITUTION campaign encourages all South

world needed it more than ever, it is now.

Africans to breathe, walk and live the Constitution, to celebrate our achievements and constructively confront our challenges to

Over the past years, we have grown an African Oral History

build the country that we all know South Africa can be.

Archive – hundreds of hours of testimony and documentaries from the very people who lived our country’s history. In 2015, we

For more information on the work of our Foundation,

launched our Heritage Art Collection, aspiring to galvanise art as

I encourage you to visit www.ichikowitzfoundation.com.

tool for dialogue, for nation building. The next in our series of exhibitions, IT’S A FINE LINE, mobilises the fine work of artist Dean Simon into what we hope will be a thought-provoking multi-media experience. The exhibition is especially designed for travelling, to be mobile and batteryoperated. A high school e-learning toolkit for history teachers and learners will be also be launched, encouraging interaction and dialogue with South Africa’s transformation and it’s future. Coinciding with the exhibition is the launch of #IAMCONSTITUTION, a national campaign, aimed at promoting the values and benefits of the Constitution among all South Africans.


Dialogue lies at the heart of any civilization; it has always been Africa’s great legacy, and it is Africa’s gift to the world.


Dean Simon’s IT’S A FINE LINE assembles fragments of a political history that depict key individuals: politicians, activists, intellectuals and artists, who contributed to and hindered the contentious process through which South Africa arrived at its worldrecognised but fragile democracy. Simon’s drawings are prompting narratives, as if soliciting interest in the biographies of the depicted individuals, and treatises juxtaposed with the captured events, sites, moments, artifacts,

archival sources. History here should be comprehended as a manipulated composition, like a collage whose constitution takes the form of inventive arrangements or imaginative configurations. Notably, this is a history calling for further investigation and interpretation that should pay attention to the details of other political figures, movements, practices, dispositions, sensibilities and insolences, which are beyond the archival limits indicative of the African National Congress’ narratives.

monuments and buildings. Some of the people have never met nor interacted, but they share space and time, as we view them within the same frame. IT’S A FINE LINE is thus like a tapestry. It stitches together dissimilar nevertheless overlapping references to establish collectively-shared narratives and materials that are different in political orientations, ideologies, aspirations and cultural sensibilities. Some are resilient in conflict and discord whilst others are intersecting and corresponding. Not only the subject matter but also the delicate treatment of details, rendition of lines, tones and textures all visual qualities that make Simon’s drawings curious in their visual narration. They read as an assemblage revealing the constructiveness of history, and how its production is enacted through choices the artist has made in reimagining and reconfiguring

THEMBINKOSI GONIWE ART HISTORIAN Thembinkosi Goniwe–internationally-exhibited visual artist, art historian, and former lecturer at the University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Fort Hare and Vaal University of Technology. Currently he is visiting researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand School of the Arts.

Some of the people have never met nor interacted, but they share space and time, as we view them within the same frame.


• Heal the divisions of the past and

Recognise the injustices of our past;

establish a society based on democratic

and freedom in our land; Respect those

human rights;

Honour those who suffered for justice

who have worked to build and develop

values, social justice and fundamental

May God protect our people.

is based on the will of the people and

Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso.

• Improve the quality of life of all

God bless South Africa.

and open society in which government

in our diversity. We therefore, through

every citizen is equally protected by law;

this Constitution as the supreme law of

citizens and free the potential of each

our freely elected representatives, adopt the Republic so as to:

sovereign state in the family of nations.

• Lay the foundations for a democratic

our country; and Believe that South

Africa belongs to all who live in it, united

• Build a united and democratic South

Africa able to take its rightful place as a

person; and

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

God seën Suid-Afrika.

Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afurika. Hosi katekisa Afrika.


LABOUR RELATIONS - You may join trade unions

EQUALITY - You cannot be discriminated against.

and go on strike.

But affirmative action is allowed.

ENVIRONMENT - You have the right to a healthy environment.

HUMAN DIGNITY - Your dignity must be respected and

PROPERTY - Your property can only be taken away from you if


the proper rules are followed.

LIFE - You have the right to life.

HOUSING - The government must make sure people get access


to proper housing.

be detained without trial, tortured or punished cruelly.



- The government must make sure you have access to food and

Slavery and forced labour are not allowed.

water; health care and social security.

PRIVACY - You cannot be searched or have your home or

CHILDREN - Children under the age of 18 have special rights,

possessions searched without a court order.

for instance, the right not to be abused.


EDUCATION - You have the right to basic education, including

You can believe and think whatever you want and follow the

adult basic education, and in your own language if this is possible.

religion of your choice.

LANGUAGE AND CULTURE - You can use the language you

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION - All people (including the press)

want and follow the culture you choose.

can say whatever they want.



COMMUNITIES - Communities can enjoy their own culture,

You can hold a demonstration, picket and present a petition.

practice their own religion, and use their own language.

But you must do so peacefully.

ACCESS TO INFORMATION - You have the right to any

FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION - You can associate with

information held by the state.

whomever you want.


POLITICAL RIGHTS - You can support the political party of

must be fair.

your choice. If you are a citizen, and at least 18 years old,

ACCESS TO COURTS - You can have a legal problem decided

you can vote.

by a court or similar structure.

CITIZENSHIP - Your citizenship cannot be taken away from you.



This right protects people who have been arrested, imprisoned or

You can go and live anywhere in South Africa.


FREEDOM OF TRADE, OCCUPATION AND PROFESSION You can do whatever work you choose.


A COMMENTARY - Millard Arnold Thoughtfully, yet provocatively, the artistic works

It implicitly is about community of purpose even when that

encapsulated in IT’S A FINE LINE reminds us of our complex,

purpose seems disparate and disconnected.

tumultuous and sometimes torturous past. It is an imaginative reflection of sixteen seminal moments in time, which provides

IT’S A FINE LINE allows us to embellish, to enrich, to discover

an empathetic appreciation of South Africa’s transition to

within ourselves the greater truths that our history has made

democracy. Some innocent, some not, but they are all captured

possible, and to open in our minds, the possibility of what we

in exquisite detail by Dean Simon, an artist who challenges us

can achieve in the future. Its message is timeless; its appeal is

to understand and know how our history was shaped, and in

universal; it is a fine line, but one that can be safely navigated

turn, how we have been shaped by our history. It is important

with ease.

history, because it is the foundation upon which the future is built. Appreciating the forces at work in shaping our history is to appreciate what we need to realise in order to avoid the mistakes of the past.


At the same time, however, IT’S A FINE LINE is to be appreciated for what it is, and that is art of a compelling

Millard Arnold–lawyer, businessman, former diplomat, professor

nature rich in concept and design. It is both metaphoric and

of law, journalist, lecturer, actor, author, poet, artist and award-

yet incongruous; it is art played out upon various levels of

winning photographer whose works have been exhibited in London,

consciousness that contrasts complicated and unexpected

New York, Washington and Johannesburg. 

truths with conflicts and tensions in dynamic juxtaposition to each other. This collection makes no pretentions that it is a comprehensive history of the evolution of democracy in South Africa. Rather, it seeks to capture vignettes of our history that provide a glimpse into the extraordinary intricacies and complexities that took place at all levels of society that made the transition possible. It recapitulates the fundamental political truth which is that humanity and relationships are at the core of our existence.

Humanity and relationships are at the core of our existence.

THE ART WORKS The Blessing – Enoch Sontonga

In the Beginning – The Roots of the African National Congress

Chief Laureate of Peace – Albert Luthuli

In the Eye of the Beholder – Gerard Sekoto & George Pemba In Her Mind’s Eye – Ruth Mompati

Of Truth and Justice – George Bizos

Two Sides of the Same Coin – Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Room of Ghosts – Steve Biko

Of Hope and Illusion – Bram Fischer The Foreign Minister – Pik Botha

Poetic Justice – Mathews Phosa

Across the Great Divide – The Negotiators

Parting the Waters – Oliver Tambo

Three Ringed Circus – Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, F.W. de Klerk

A Fine Line – The Constitution

The End of an Era – Farewell Madiba

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is one of Africa’s most evocative pieces of music, which became not only the anthem of a country, but of an entire people. However, the origins of this hauntingly beautiful composition were almost obscured by history, as was the final resting place of its composer. At the turn of the 19th century, travelling from the Eastern Cape to the Witwatersrand, preacher, teacher and composer Enoch Sontonga, was inspired to uplift the spirits of his brethren by composing hymns for his choir. His hymn Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika that called upon God to bless Africa, was taken up by countless choirmasters who spread it far and wide. Unlike his well-known contemporaries Mahatma Gandhi and Sol Plaatje featured in the picture frame, Sontonga, at the age of 33, died in relative obscurity and in abject poverty. Little did he know that his hymn would be sung at the first meeting of what would become the African National Congress, and over a century would be embraced by many across the continent as the soundtrack to their souls. Only recently discovered, Sontonga’s grave was declared a national monument by President Nelson Mandela in 1996. The Blessing Enoch Sontonga

Today, we celebrate Enoch Sontonga’s gift to us, a heroic message of calm, written in the eye of the storm. President Nelson Mandela, unveiling of the Sontonga Monument, 1996

In the Beginning depicts the founding

on a lifelong mission for equality,

of the South African Native National

would ultimately inspire future leaders,

Congress that was later known as the

indicated by the empty chair, to unify

African National Congress. The artist’s

millions under its auspices in a spirit of

tableau features four founding members

resistance. Who would have thought that

including from left Sol Plaatje (3rd),

this modest church in the small town of

Walter Rubusana (4th), John Dube (5th)

Waaihoek, just outside Bloemfontein,

and Pixley Seme (6th) in Bloemfontein

would be the birthplace of the ideas

on 8th January 1912. Women were

that formed Africa’s longest-living

not permitted to be members, but

revolutionary movement, the African

Charlotte Maxeke (1st) took up the

National Congress.

In the Beginning The Roots of the African National Congress

torch of women’s resistance and later co-founded the Bantu Women’s League. The American educator and civil rights authority, Booker T. Washington (2nd), though never in South Africa, had a profound impact on many of these leaders’ ideals. This collection of schoolteachers, preachers and writers

We are one people. These divisions, these jealousies are the cause of all our woes and of all our backwardness and ignorance today.

Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, article entitled “Native Union”, 1911

Chief Laureate of Peace Albert Luthuli

Chief Laureate of Peace honours the

realities of the struggle. Turning toward

life and times of Albert John Luthuli;

violent resistance was a deep source of

teacher, preacher, traditional Chief.

concern for Luthuli, whose principles

Regarded as a most formidable leader,

were closely aligned to those of Martin

Luthuli served as the president of the

Luther King Junior, the leader of the

It is inevitable that in working for freedom some individuals and some families have to take the lead and suffer: The road to freedom is via the cross.

ANC from 1952 to 1967. It was on

non-violent civil rights protests in the

his watch that South Africa’s political

United States. Standing next to Martin

landscape changed irrevocably when

Luther King Junior, is a young Nelson

Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, depicted

Mandela, the firebrand leader of the

directly behind Luthuli, led the charge

ANC’s military wing who spent many

for apartheid. Despite being banned,

an hour debating with Luthuli their

put on trial and jailed, it was Luthuli’s

fervent principles and dilemmas. Luthuli

fervent religious belief that “the road

never lived to see the birth of the new

to freedom is via the cross”. As early as

South Africa - killed while walking

1962, Ronald Harrison painted Luthuli

along his neighbourhood railway line,

as The Black Christ. The first African

fuelling speculations to this day as to the

recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for

mysterious circumstances of his death.

advocating non-violent resistance to

His legacy is celebrated with the creation

racial discrimination, Luthuli had to

of The Order of Luthuli.

Chief Albert Luthuli, public statement, 1952

eventually sacrifice his ideals for the

In the Eye of the Beholder depicts life

take many, many years for Sekoto

in the townships through the eyes of

and Pemba to eventually receive

artists Gerard Sekoto and George Pemba,

international recognition.

finally recognised as the pioneers of

Their ability to capture the humanity

black South African art. Born a year

and realism of everyday scenes, and give

apart, both individuals expressed

dignity to black South Africans,

paintings of resistance to the onslaught

without the distance that separated

of forced removals. In both Sekoto’s

celebrated European artists at the time,

street in Sophiatown, Yellow Houses

will forever remain etched in the

on the left, and Pemba’s portrayal of a

South African gestalt.

Port Elizabeth township bursting with vibrant resistance on the right, their paintings foreshadow the angst of a community about to be ruined; in the upper right, forced removals literally crush the communities as the Group Areas Act takes hold. Juxtaposing this chaos, the artists continued their prolific depictions of a creative oasis for artists of all disciplines, including journalists, photographers and musicians. It would

In the Eye of the Beholder Gerard Sekoto and George Pemba

Sophiatown. The vitality of the area was a great stimulus. There was always the movements of comings and goings and all sorts of happenings. The yellow sun turned the ground and rolling stones into many different colours. Gerard Sekoto, Circa, 1955

In Her Mind’s Eye Ruth Mompati

We are here, not because the men say so, or not because somebody has done us a favour. But because we were there when it was fought for and we were part of the fight for freedom. Ruth Mompati, 2012 interview

There are some individuals who work

for exile, telling her mother and young

in a quiet and understated way and yet,

children that she would return in a few

they change the face of a nation. One

months. Instead, she became a pioneer

such individual is Dr Ruth Segomotsi

in the ANC’s Mkhonto we Sizwe, the

Mompati. However, few people know

armed resistance wing. This involvement

the story of this remarkable woman,

would ultimately lead to 27 years away

and the full impact she has had in South

from home. During this time, Mompati

African politics. Ruth Mompati’s first

expanded and strengthened the ANC’s

job in Johannesburg was as a typist in

international network across Africa

the law firm of Mandela and Tambo

and Europe. A celebrated member of

Attorneys – a role that put her amongst

parliament, ambassador and mayor of

the great African visionaries of the 20th

her home district in Vryburg, North

century. Mompati was at Kliptown when

West Province, this artwork pays homage

the Freedom Charter was adopted, was

to Mama Ruta, and her quiet strength,

a founding member of the Federation of

grace and nobility.

South African Women, and she helped organise the momentous 1956 Women’s March to protest against pass laws for women. In the early 1960s, Mompati became one of the first women to leave

Of Truth and Justice, the imposing

would often tell his cabinet,

face and hand of human rights

“George Bizos is on a short rope.”

advocate George Bizos is emblematic

Despite constant harassment, the refugee

of a dedicated group of human rights

who had arrived in South Africa as a

attorneys who literally held in their

teenager speaking only Greek would

hands the life or death of the political

commit his life to being a defender of

prisoners they represented, including

justice and human rights.

Of Truth and Justice George Bizos

Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela. At the Rivonia Trial in 1964, Bizos often said that his main contribution to Mandela’s famous speech was to advise the use of the words “if needs be” when Mandela proclaimed he was prepared to die for his cause. Bizos believes that this may have contributed to the avoidance of the death penalty and the martyrdom of Mandela. Prime Minister John Vorster throughout his reign from 1966 to 1978,

Each of us has the opportunity to render personal service to improve our society. We should not remain silent, nor complain, but participate in our individual capacities to make society better. George Bizos, upon receiving the Luminary Award, 2014

Two Sides of the Same Coin Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

I am the product of the masses of my country and the product of my enemy. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 2012 interview

Mother of the Nation or controversial

defiant militancy as a survivor of torture

revolutionary? Struggle icon Winnie

and banishment, a warrior fighting

Madikizela-Mandela has been called

for freedom in a revolution seemingly

many names. For the millions who

without end. Beneath her radiant beauty

adore her she is the woman who carried

that surpasses the decades, could Winnie

the Mandela mantle with pride and

Madikizela-Mandela be left with a

determination while her husband was

profound conundrum – if she had the

imprisoned. Her divorce from Nelson

opportunity to live her life all over again,

Mandela and charges of fraud and

would she choose to live it as a Mandela,

kidnapping were further ammunition

married to the liberation struggle?

for those who had come to dislike her. And yet her popularity continued to grow, and remains strong, especially amongst the younger generation. The broaches worn at her neck portray two diametrically opposite personas that comprise two sides of the same coin. One depicts Winnie as a newlywed, her fate intertwined with the Mandela family name – a name that would both throw her into harm’s way, and paradoxically save her life. The opposite broach depicts Winnie in an era of

Steve Biko, an outspoken intellectual,

operatives like Craig Williamson, Dirk

led the Black Consciousness Movement

Coetzee, Clive Derby Lewis and Eugene

in the 1960s. Frustrated with the liberal

de Kock to brutally assassinate other

student unions of the time, Biko’s

anti-apartheid activists like Ruth First,

rallying cry, “Black man, you are on

David Webster, Chris Hani and countless

your own,” called for a re-appropriation

others. In spite of international and

of black self-consciousness. Bolstered

local outrage, those who wanted to see

by organisations such as Biko’s, a

the assassins’ heads roll were deeply

generation of students revolted against

disappointed that they were never

the government’s education policy on

brought to justice. Newton’s Third Law of

the 16th June 1976 in Soweto. Students

Motion teaches us that “for every action,

were shot and killed as portrayed by Sam

there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Nzima’s iconic photograph of a dying

As he sits today in this room of ghosts,

Hector Peterson. Rather than capitulate,

perhaps none is more aware of this than

the government cracked down on

Steve Biko himself.

whomever they deemed to be enemies of the state – not least of which was Biko himself. On the 11th of September 1977, one year after the Soweto Uprising, Biko was beaten and tortured until he fell into a coma. He died in a prison cell one day later at the age of 33. But it didn’t stop there. The government ordered

Room of Ghosts Steve Biko

It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die. Stephen Bantu Biko, Circa, 1976

Of Hope and Illusion Bram Fischer

Were I to ask forgiveness today I would betray my cause. That course is not open to me. I believe that what I did was right. Bram Fischer, statement from the Dock, 1966

Of Hope and Illusion addresses the

It was only as a result of international

secret life of Bram Fischer as a leader

outrage and public lobbying that he

of the South African Communist Party.

was released – only to die at home a

Born into one of the most prominent

short time later. In 2003, Bram Fischer

Afrikaner nationalist families in the

became the first South African to be

country, no one in the conservative

posthumously reinstated to the

community of Bram Fischer’s youth

Roll of Advocates.

would have anticipated that he would become a hero of the anti-apartheid struggle. A trip to the Soviet Union opened his eyes to the plight of the working poor which mirrored that of South Africa’s black community, and ultimately steered him towards communism, represented by Russia’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral in the top left. At his trial for treason in 1966, Fischer stood firm in his moral convictions and he paid the price. He was disbarred and handed down a life sentence. After serving eight years, Fischer was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Pik Botha is South Africa’s, and at one stage the world’s, longest serving Foreign Minister. Marinated in Afrikaner history and National Party politics, Pik Botha’s outgoing personality, and superb debating skills led to his meteoric rise within the ranks of the National Party and into its diplomatic corps. When Botha tried to escape the confines of apartheid dogma, there was fierce resistance from within his own party who taunted him with the epithet “The Foreign Minister.” Yet, his diplomatic finesse was essential in ending South Africa’s border war in Angola, in brokering a non-aggression pact with Mozambique, and finally securing his long-held dream of the independence of Namibia. Botha was part of the team that orchestrated a peaceful end to white rule. And in 1994, Botha’s 40 years as a flamboyant messenger between two warring worlds was finally brought to a resolution. Pik Botha became one of the few ministers who survived to serve in both the apartheid and the ANC governments.

The Foreign Minister Pik Botha

As long as we can agree in a suitable way on the protection of minority rights without a racial sting, then it would possibly become unavoidable that in future you might have a black president of this country. Pik Botha, press conference, 1986

In Poetic Justice, a pensive Mathews

Forty years after the Soweto Uprising,

Phosa reflects upon the violent events

Dr Mathews Phosa continues his efforts,

of his time including the Soweto

widely publishing his poetry to

Uprising of 1976 that would irrevocably

“go out and live the Constitution.”

Poetic Justice Mathews Phosa

affect his future as a 24-year old law student. After opening the first black law practice in Nelspruit, Phosa as a member of the African National Congress, was banned from the country, and whilst in exile, became the Mozambique regional commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). One of the few scholars to speak nine languages and write poetry in Afrikaans, Phosa’s considerable litigation skills made him a natural choice to spearhead Nelson Mandela’s reconciliation initiatives with the Afrikaans community. Phosa was appointed the first premier of Mpumalanga, a province marred by farmers who suffered from MK incursions and the return of the exiled.

Let’s concede that the transition was very peaceful, the army supported the new dispensation, and South Africans voted for the parties of their own choice. That set a very good tone … for nation-building and reconciliation. I don’t think we should drop that ball - we should go to schools, churches, everywhere and make reconciliation a reality. Dr Mathews Phosa, Radio Interview, 2015

Across the Great Divide symbolises the

and goodwill. A negotiated democracy

process of reaching across a seemingly

relied heavily on the active support

unsurpassable chasm of historical

of African leaders such as Zambia’s

antagonism with the intention of finding

President Kenneth Kaunda who even

a middle ground. The background

used his musical talent to call former

represents hundreds of years of colonial

enemies together. It was only through

bloodshed that go all the way back to the

many taxing and punishing hours of

wars between King Shaka of the Zulu

dialogue that a democratic settlement

Kingdom and Piet Retief, the symbol of

was eventually able to emerge. One

Afrikaner domination. What was needed

that required both sides to build trust,

were courageous voices on all sides

to listen, and to respect one another

that could look beyond the injustices of

as equals, no matter how traumatic or

the past. Breyten Breytenbach, Beyers

challenging the historic divides.

NaudĂŠ, Max du Preez and Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert extended the hand of friendship to the African National Congress represented by Chris Hani, Thabo Mbeki, Pallo Jordan and Mac Maharaj. Along with other liberalminded whites, groups of politicians, journalists, poets and businessmen took great risks towards establishing faith

Across the Great Divide The Negotiators

Far more disturbing are the expectations that people have of what a democracy can deliver, and which research shows it is incapable of doing. This, in the South African context, is the real burden of democracy. Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert, 1992

Oliver Reginald Tambo was not only

selfless actions allowed Tambo’s former

a composer, science and mathematics

law partner, Nelson Mandela to take the

teacher, devout Christian, and attorney;

reigns. Although Tambo dedicated his

but also the President of the ANC from

life to the concept of universal suffrage,

1967 to 1991. O.R. as he was fondly

Oliver Tambo died before he was able to

known, is pictured here as a modern-day

vote. Like Moses, he never reached the

Moses. World reknowned for convincing

Promised Land.

Parting the Waters Oliver Tambo

the world to condemn apartheid as a crime against humanity. Often described as the quiet, thoughtful academic of the revolution, Tambo was a man of steely resolve who would ultimately lead his people to freedom. Standing beside Tambo is his wife Adelaide, who together with their compatriots Walter and Albertina Sisulu and Govan Mbeki, displayed rare leadership and modesty to step away from centre stage. Those

I had other plans for my life. I was going to train for the ministry. But God had other plans for me, to fight in the political liberation of my people. Oliver Reginald Tambo

Three Ringed Circus (from left) Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela, and F.W. de Klerk

Set under the omnipresent gaze of the

new South African flag). This absurdly

imposing Union Buildings, Three Ringed

complicated W. Heath Robinsonesque

Circus depicts a delicate balancing act

figure illustrates that the fate of the

between a trio of players in the centre

new nation was intrinsically linked

circle: South Africa’s new government

and interdependent - and extremely

of National Unity, headed by President

fragile. In the foreground, a menagerie

the dodo (prejudiced individuals whose

Nelson Mandela (the strong, patient

of archetypal characteristics parade as

bias is heading for extinction), the

elephant) and Deputy Presidents

a reminder of the good and evil that

greedy griffin (power gone awry) and

Thabo Mbeki (the aloof, lofty giraffe

lurk below the surface, to either help

the intolerant crocodile (mutation of

on the elephant’s back protected by the

or hinder democracy – the stubborn

intolerance and impatience). Amid these

shell of the liberation movement) and

donkey (mainstream voters who kept

foreboding creatures are fairies, the

F.W. de Klerk (the bear, subject to the

apartheid alive), the heinous devil

“born frees”, the vanguard of the future.

political winds of change, waving the

(evil doers who have escaped conviction),

We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world. President Nelson Mandela, Inaugural Address, 1994

South Africa’s Constitution was signed

symbolise the fine balancing act needed

into law on International Human Rights

to maintain the rule of law, enacted by the

Day, 10th December 1996 by newly-

Constitutional Court’s Chief Justices on

elected President Nelson Mandela,

the left. There is a striking beam of light

not in a formal boardroom, but in a

through the gloom overhead, symbolic of

crowded soccer stadium in Sharpeville

the hope that the Constitution remains

– a tribute to the peaceful protestors

a living reality for the majority of people

killed there in 1960. In A Fine Line,

and that its viability depends upon the

the Constitution is signed in front of

absolute independence of the judiciary.

A Fine Line The Constitution

a landscape of past horrors. While the country heard harrowing accounts of torture from perpetrators at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, many of apartheid’s agents remained anonymous and unaccountable as portrayed by the faceless killers on the right. Behind this harrowing activity, the Constitutional Court would rise out of the ashes of daily degradation and untold stories, to be a beacon of human rights and hope. The scales of justice

We wrote the Constitution collectively. We wrote it with our blood, and some people wrote it with their lives. Even though our Constitution has been amended, the core of it remains timeless. Cyril Ramaphosa, launch of One Law, One Nation, 2012

The End of an Era bades farewell to

apartheid. Madiba in the austere western

Madiba and depicts his journey of

suit is indicative of his gravitas as an

metamorphosis from militant politico

icon of reconciliation and forgiveness.

into a global symbol of peace. On the

The image in the middle pays tribute

left, is the astute lawyer with a thriving

to the total transcendence of Nelson

practice; hotheaded, short-tempered,

Mandela from enemy of the state to Tata,

angry, followed by a Xhosa nobleman

the Father of the Nation.

The End of an Era Farewell Madiba

symbolically attired in traditional dress as he entered court to face charges of treason and conspiring to overthrow the state. There is a lapse of three decades between the man who entered prison and the icon who walked out. On the far right, Madiba stole the show at the 1995 Rugby World Cup where he donned the captain’s jersey and cemented his role as a champion for national unity of a people still raw from the wounds of

I stand before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Address on his release from prison, Cape Town, 11 February 1990


Dean Simon has been producing work for local and

Africa who fought against oppression and inequality over

international art collectors for almost thirty years.

decades. Fifty prints, signed by Simon and Mandela, were created

All sold before completion, his works are in the collections

from the original artwork, and the work was included in the

of many leading international corporations such as

exhibition We Love Mandela: Art Inspired by Madiba which

Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, Ford Motor Company, Nestlé,

previewed at the Peacemaker’s Museum, Sandton on the 18th

Land Rover and MTV.

July 2013 in celebration of Mandela’s 95th birthday. The world tour of this Exhibition was launched at South Africa House in

In 1988, Simon was appointed an official military artist, the

Trafalgar Square, London in October that same year.

fourth since WWII, to cover the final 18 months of the South African Border War capturing the reality of a soldier’s

An international tour of the exhibition IT’S A FINE LINE is being

experience in Angola and Namibia. He was able to produce

planned after its launch in Johannesburg.

historical records of the war and its impact on the daily lives of those involved in battle, scenes almost impossible to photograph. This Collection is now preserved in the South African War Museum. During the course of his career, Simon has produced a series of works that portray the lives of the early South African Jazz musicians in the 1940’s. The pieces were recreated from fragments of information, personal recollections, s and artifacts from that period. Other commissions include a series of artworks referencing Nelson Mandela for the private collection of Douw Steyn, now displayed at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg; and his controversial The Last Supper, depicting individuals from

MEMORIES - Leon Wessels When Nelson Mandela, after years of negotiation, had to

Leon Wessels was a Member of Parliament from November 1977

sign the Constitution in 1996, the signing ceremony had to

to January 1997, Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly

take place in public specifically in Sharpeville, Vereeniging;

(1994-1996), and Member of the South African Human Rights

“because those who sacrificed must know that their struggle

Commission (1999-2009). Currently, he is Director for the Centre of

was not in vain and their efforts are not forgotten.”

Human Rights at the University of the Free State and Honorary Professor in Public Law at the North West University,

I was not surprised when the 10th December was suggested as

Potchefstroom campus.

the date for the signing ceremony. It was, after all, International Human Rights Day. There was finally the promise of accountable governance. The justices in our courts would protect these ideals. What excited me tremendously, and also filled me with great trepidation, was standing next to Cyril Ramaphosa who was “sitting in the very same chair” once occupied by former apartheid Prime Minister John Vorster. It was then that I realised this process is not sugar-coated, this is for real. I will never forget Mandela’s words that echoed so triumphantly across the George Thabe stadium: “Today, together as South Africans from all walks of life and from virtually every school of political thought, we reclaim the unity that the Vereeniging of nine decades ago sought to deny.” This was the highlight of my political career. My participation – standing next to Mandela and Ramaphosa and saying the final word of thanks, was the last political function I participated in.

There was finally the promise of accountable governance. The justices in our courts would protect these ideals.

Winston Rabotapi, the great grandson of Enoch Mankayi Sontonga Our great grandfather, Enoch Mankayi Sontonga – a son of the soil, and a father that roused our continent. I remember how our grandparents would encourage us to emulate him and also become strong and gentle.

Dr Albertina Luthuli, the daughter of Chief Luthuli Seeing my father brings back memories, painful ones of course but there is the opportunity to reflect deeply about an era we dare not merely lament, but celebrate in how we have become a free society.

Limpho Hani, the widow of Chris Hani When seeing my husband in the artwork I remember how much my family and I miss him... There will be critics of the Collection, I can assure you, but most importantly, Dean Simon has challenged us to have a dialogue amongst ourselves, and that should be encouraged!

Sindi Ngaba, the niece of Ruth Mompati My aunt Ruth Mompati was always present, her silences were profound and to that end conversations with her were always soul altering because she would listen and then she would resolve the dilemma with a short and potent response.

Family of Beyers Naudé The handshake of forgiveness and agreement [in Across the Great Divide – The Negotiators] again confirms how people of different backgrounds and cultures managed to change the course of history and charter a way forward for our diversified country.

Jane Van Zyl Slabbert, the widow of Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert It is an honour and it is correct that history should show Van Zyl as a courageous South African who created a dialogue between the Afrikaners and the ANC in exile. Thank you for paying tribute to Van Zyl’s vision. He would be troubled if he learnt that racism still remains a difficult bridge to cross.

Swati Dlamini Mandela, the granddaughter of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela When I see my grandmother and grandfather placed alongside all those people, it fills me with pride to remember that they belong to a long line of well-known and lesser-known individuals, who all fought for the Constitutional Democracy we now celebrate.

Vuyi ka Seme, the great granddaughter of Dr Pixley Seme The drawing is remarkable and so exact. Visual art is powerful. I feel very strongly that art can indeed play a role in our education system, plus create a national dialogue, indeed, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’

The Ichikowitz Family Foundation contributes to the preser vation of our heritage, the conser vation of our environment, the education of our people and actively promotes nation building.


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'It's a Fine Line' Exhibition Catalogue  

A collection of works by Dean Simon, commissioned by The Ichikowitz Family Foundation. #IAMCONSTITUTION

'It's a Fine Line' Exhibition Catalogue  

A collection of works by Dean Simon, commissioned by The Ichikowitz Family Foundation. #IAMCONSTITUTION

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