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
A WALK THROUGH
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
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
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
DAWN ROBERTSON CEO CONSTITUTION HILL
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.
IVOR ICHIKOWITZ CHAIRMAN OF THE ICHIKOWITZ FAMILY FOUNDATION
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.
FOREWORD by Thembinkosi Goniwe ASSEMBLING FRAGMENTS OF HISTORY
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.
CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA-1996 We, the people of South Africa,
• 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
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
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.
God seën Suid-Afrika.
Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afurika. Hosi katekisa Afrika.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 2: THE BILL OF RIGHTS
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
FREEDOM AND SECURITY OF THE PERSON - You cannot
to proper housing.
be detained without trial, tortured or punished cruelly.
HEALTH CARE, FOOD, WATER AND SOCIAL SECURITY
SLAVERY, SERVITUDE AND FORCED LABOUR -
- 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.
FREEDOM OF RELIGION, BELIEF AND OPINION -
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.
CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS AND LINGUISTIC
ASSEMBLY, DEMONSTRATION, PICKET AND PETITION -
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.
JUST ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION - Actions by the state
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.
ARRESTED, DETAINED AND ACCUSED PERSONS -
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND RESIDENCE -
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.
ALL THESE RIGHTS CAN BE LIMITED IF IT WOULD BE FAIR TO DO SO.
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
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.
MILLARD ARNOLD ARTIST, ATTORNEY
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
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,
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 Sekotoâ€™s
celebrated European artists at the time,
street in Sophiatown, Yellow Houses
will forever remain etched in the
on the left, and Pembaâ€™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 â€“ 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 â€“ a name that would both throw her into harmâ€™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 Zambiaâ€™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 Tamboâ€™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
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 captainâ€™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
ARTIST PROFILE - Dean Simon
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
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.
A collection of works by Dean Simon, commissioned by The Ichikowitz Family Foundation. #IAMCONSTITUTION