Ifa Lethu Mourns the Passing of its Board Member

Together with South Africa, the Ifa Lethu foundation mourns the passing of legendary jazz musician, Hugh Masekela. Uncle Hugh lost his courageous battle with prostate cancer in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 23 January 2018. While the country mourns the loss of such phenomenal talent in the music industry, Ifa Lethu mourns the loss of a very dear friend and advisor. After serving as a founding Director on the Foundation’s South African Board, Uncle Hugh went on to sit on Ifa Lethu’s Board of Elders. During his tenure on the latter he continued to provide wise counsel on our work and projects as well as to motivate our youth entrepreneurs. His involvement and performances in our many global events was legendary. This was especially the case when he performed for the FTSE 100 CEO’s and Chairpersons as well as celebrities at the Lord Mayor’s/Ifa Lethu Gala Investment Dinner in London. Hamba Kahle Uncle Hugh and May You continue to inspire us and our youth for eternity.

Director and CEO, Dr. Narissa Ramdhani addressed delegates  at the 2nd National Conference of the South African Cultural Observatory on The Creative Economy and Development.  The conference was held at the Turbine Hall, Johannesburg from 24-26 May 2017. Her address was entitled.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Rural Industrialisation and Development: Successes for Ifa Lethu in the Creative Economy of South Africa.        
Brand Ambassador of Ifa Lethu, Michael Selekane, joined Dr. Ramdhani as a co-presenter at the Cultural Observatory National Conference in May 2017. 


Edward Maqwacha Miya is our featured artist (fashion designer) for this quarter.  Edward has been fortunate to have participated in the Ifa Lethu Creative Entrepreneurship training and Mentoring programmes the Ditlabeng Municipality(Clarens) of the Free State Province in 2016-2017.


Motshili Nthodi

Motshile wa Nthodi was born in Lady Selbourne in Pretoria on March 27, 1948, the eldest child in a family of 10. His passion for art developed early as he watched his grand mother carving and decorating pots. At 16, Wa Nthodi he decided he wanted to be an artist, but, as with many aspiring artists had to work while devoting his spare time to visiting museums and galleries.

Wa Nthodi soon met other artists who advised him on his work; including, for 15 years, the director of Schweickerdt Arts Gallery in Pretoria, Richard Friemelt. Wa Nthodi took lessons on art at the Ecole Nationale Superieur des Beaux Arts in Paris and completed the equivalent of his master’s degree in arts at the Ecole Des Arts Visuele in Geneva.

Wa Nthodi is an expert on woodcuts with his work reflecting traditional and rural life. His most illustrious work to date is From the Calabash, a series of 20 woodcuts, showing a life cycle in a Ndebele village. To Wa Nthodi colour is an important element and runs through some of his work with black symbolizing life, red the ancestors and yellow representing the cosmic elements of the sun, moon and stars, and with the calabashes representing nourishment. Passionate about African art, he does not reject European art but has a desire to make people to recognize local African Art and to keep it alive.

Wa Nthodi’s inspiration for From the Calabash came from a visit to England. Impressed by the way in which culture occupied a central role, he recalls that, “After visiting colleges, museums and other educational institutions during my exhibition tour in England, I was struck by the way in which these people spoke highly and respectably about their cultures: their roots. So I decided to do something about my culture - hence the woodcuts and poetry that accompany them in this volume.”

Wa Nthodi’s work, including From The Calabash, has been exhibited across the world. Not only an artist but a writer as well, he has written a book on his iconic work and includes his poetry. He still lives in Mamelodi and continues to work as an artist.
Click here to view other artworks

Ifa Lethu completed two further projects nationally in recent months.  They included the Creative Entrepreneurial Project Phase 2 in Clarens, Free State and the Arts and Craft Beneficiation Project for the Cradle of Humankind (COH)  World Heritage Site, the latter being the Foundation’s flagship project for 2016-2017.