Adam Habib goes to war in the name of Gerard Sekoto's legacy

Gerard Sekoto was born in Botshabelo, a German Lutheran Mission Station near Middelburg in the Transvaal, to Andreas Sekoto - a Priest and School Teacher, and his wife, Anne Sekoto (née Serote), in 1913.

The year was marked by the introduction of the ‘Natives Land Act’ –the first of the segregation legislations to be passed by the Parliament of South Africa. The series of measures taken by the government to exploit, alienate and degrade non-white South Africans that followed the Land Act drove Gerard Sekoto, and many other artists, musicians academics and activists, into self-imposed exile. Sekoto left in 1947 for Paris where he stayed until his death in 1993.

Pictures courtesy of www.gerardsekotofoundation.com

The Wits Art Museum is now home to a lot of his works. Their major collection of over 300 drawings and sketches from South Africa, Senegal and Paris produced by the artist between the 1940s and 1980s.

It was purchased and repatriated from France by the Sowetan Newspaper and has been housed at Wits University since 1989. In 2010 the collection was formally donated to WAM.

But last Thursday Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Adam Habib called Redi Tlhabi on air claiming that a meeting between the Gerard Sekoto Foundation with the Minister (a meeting Habib had flown back to South Africa for while on holiday to attend) had been cancelled via text message 10 minutes before it was due to begin, without proper explanation.

Here's the call...

I find it a shocking level of unaccountability by a Senior Minister. This is not how you behave with the business of the country!

Prod Adam Habib

Sekoto is definitely our own Picasso and there's no way then, that you can have such a treasure, such a heritage - lying away - and not known in South Africa.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa

Having heard of the call, Minister Nathi Mthethwa sought right of reply - which Redi granted on the first possible show.

Mthethwa was quick to point out that the meeting was intended to be a one on one between Themba Wakashe, the chairman of the Gerard Sekoto Foundation and himself and that he didn't know who would have given a cabinet meeting as a reason for the cancellation.

In his response on the same show, Prof Habib reitterated how important the opportunity of a meeting with the Minister is for the Foundation Board... that it would potentially open doors for the archive of the Gerard Sekoto Foundation to become widely accessible to learners - for his works to be formally studied.

It's important to say that this is not about a silly meeting, it's important to say this is about the Sekoto legacy... this is an important legacy that all of us agree on.

Prof Adam Habib

Quite clearly, this is one matter which is at the centre of who we are as a nation and how we've evolved - especially in this sector of arts, culture... and of heritage.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa

Yes we can memoriablise Sekoto through street naming, but the best way to do so is to make sure his legacy carries through from generation to generation.

Prof Adam Habib

Listen to Redi Tlhabi's full conversation with Minister Mthethwa and Professor Habib...

George Hallett's portrait of Gerard Sekoto in front of his painting Homage to Steve Biko, Paris, 1988.


This article first appeared on 702 : Adam Habib goes to war in the name of Gerard Sekoto's legacy


Read More
How to get through awkward family dynamics this holiday

How to get through awkward family dynamics this holiday

Spending time with family over Christmas isn't always easy. Clinical psychologist Khosi Jiyane shares advice on how to cope.

Mantshantsha: Eskom managers to be held to account by the scruff of their necks

Mantshantsha: Eskom managers to be held to account by the scruff of their necks

Financial Mail's Sikonathi Mantshantsha and investigative journalist Sabelo Skiti analyse new board appointments at power utility.

How to take care of your testicles and keep your sperm healthy

How to take care of your testicles and keep your sperm healthy

Urologist Dr Shingai Mutambirwa says it's important to notice changes in one's testicles and shares advice on men's sexual health.

Naked Scientist: How does rice remove moisture from a cellphone?

Naked Scientist: How does rice remove moisture from a cellphone?

Chris Smith explains the science behind placing your phone in rice if you have dropped in a pool of water.

Sara-Jayne King bares all about dark adoption story in memoir, Killing Karoline

Sara-Jayne King bares all about dark adoption story in memoir, Killing Karoline

Author of best-selling autobiography 'Killing Karoline' Sara-Jayne King shares her life story and opens up about writing her book.

Stigma may still cause HIV-positive South Africans to miss early treatment

Stigma may still cause HIV-positive South Africans to miss early treatment

Experts say only 50% of those who need treatment are receiving it and the high number of infections continues.

Popular articles
[LISTEN] 'We are dealing with an outbreak of Listeriosis' - Dr Thomas

[LISTEN] 'We are dealing with an outbreak of Listeriosis' - Dr Thomas

Head of the Centre for Enteric Diseases at the NICD Dr Thomas says that Listeriosis is problematic because it isn’t notifiable.

Publisher saves South African students billions with free textbooks

Publisher saves South African students billions with free textbooks

This year we're going to hit a million downloads of free textbooks in SA - James van der Westhuizen, country manager for Bookboon.

Steinhoff money woes and why you should care

Steinhoff money woes and why you should care

The company lost around R100 billion leaving the JSE reeling in one of the biggest private sector business scandals.

Few retirement funds unaffected by Steinhoff implosion (i.e. you just got had)

Few retirement funds unaffected by Steinhoff implosion (i.e. you just got had)

Your money, and Steinhoff… Bruce Whitfield interviews Certified Financial Planner Peter Calitz.

‘There were clear warning signs at Steinhoff. All of which fund managers missed’

‘There were clear warning signs at Steinhoff. All of which fund managers missed’

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Sygnia Group CEO Magda Wierzycka.

Zille: 40 000 affordable housing units in the pipeline for WC

Zille: 40 000 affordable housing units in the pipeline for WC

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says the government plays a crucial role in the provision of affordable housing in the province.

How businessman Max Lichaba struck gold with his jewellery company

How businessman Max Lichaba struck gold with his jewellery company

Entrepreneur Max Lichaba built his own empire and is the CEO of Lichaba Creations and several other businesses. This is his story.