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.


Fikile Magadledla

Fikile Magadlela was born in 1952 in Newclare, Johannesburg. Magadlela has been associated with art from an early age. In fact, he immersed himself with knowledge by reading his father’s art related books. Magadlela left school in 1967 to work as a full time artist. Magadlela did not receive formal education in art. Instead his fellow black artists advised him where they could.

Magadlela benefited from such people as Ezrom Legae, Solly Maphiri, who introduced Magadlela into visual arts. and Harold Jeppe who became his mentor, introducing him to art circlesin Johannesburg.

At first, Magadlela’s focus was on large drawings. Some of these were done in pencil. Others were a combination of different techniques such as airbrush combined with pencil and mixed media. Like many black artists of his time Magadlela’s work is based on his black life experience. Magadlela would work for months on a single piece in order to produce magnificent work, paying close attention to the smallest details. Magadlela’s large drawings are often accompanied by his own poetry exploring the dynamics of life.

Magadlela’s work - both poetry and paintings, surrealistic in nature, - were a true reflection of the cultural aspect of the 1970s and 1980s. Magadlela was an adherent of the Black Consciousness ideology and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Steve Biko and others. The Black Consciousness Movement empowered black people to express their ideas and views in different ways, including through the arts.

During the 1970s, Magadlela lived in Pretoria and greatly inspired the artists of the area such as Johnny Ribeiro, Isaac Nkoana, Harry Moyaga and others.

As a result of his involvement in cultural activities, Magadlela was arrested by the apartheid police for his views and perceptions. He was also refused permission to leave the country and study abroad, thus, like so many before him, dashing his aspirations to succeed in his chosen field.

In 1992 Magadlela’s first exhibition since 1979 took place at the Berman Art Gallery in Johannesburg. Speculation as to why he was so inactive for this long period include police harassment, and his possible protest against abuse from galleries who took advantage of the artists like himself. Whatever the reasons, on his return to the art scene he produced remarkable work. Magadlela work reflected both his sense of hope and the future of the country.

While he held on to his hopes for the new democratic government, he began to think artists were being neglected. Indeed many of his ‘friends’ were now in influential positions but, he felt, ignoring him and fellow artists.

Magadlela reflected on the situation, “After the release of Nelson Mandela and the return of exiles there was a reason to have hope and faith. But what has happened since is that artists are being sidelined. There is no consideration for the interest of the artist. There is not even a single trust for artists. What hurts most is that many artists in this country will continue to die paupers.”

Magadlela’s work is represented in many private and public collections inside and outside the country; his work can be found in the South African National Gallery in Cape Town and at Fort Hare. Magadlela’s works include, Celebration, Waiting for a New Dawn, Waiting for the Rain Queen, Moon Dance, Waiting for Asazi, Pessimistic, and Meditative of the Future, Nongqause, and Journey through Cosmos.

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.