Donors

Ifa Lethu has 'repatriated' over 400 artworks since inception in 2005. This has been made possible by the generosity of our donors listed below. The Ifa Lethu Collection has traveled across the globe and shared the messages and visions of our struggle artists with thousands of visitors and young people and provided inspiration to many. Ifa Lethu would like to thank the following for generously sharing their collections with the South African people:
Di Johnstone  

During a tour of duty in South Africa, Australian diplomat Di Johnstone befriended and supported mainly ’township’ artists from 1973 to 1975. In 2003, decided to donate her collection to the Pretoria Art Museum. She had assembled seventeen fine pieces during her three-year tour as a young third secretary at the Australian embassy and she seemed to know instinctively that they should be back home in SA.
Di Johnstone honoured for services to art, animals and community -Read here

Bruce Haigh  
One of the first to offer to return his large and valuable collection was another Australian diplomat, Bruce Haigh. Bruce took over "the artist portfolio" from Diane Johnstone, taking his relationship with the black communities somewhat further by becoming friends with such struggle heroes as Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, and befriending activist newspaper editor Donald Woods. Haigh was instrumental in Woods’ escape from South Africa via Lesotho. Haigh also returned a collection of historically-important documents and manuscripts accumulated in the politically-charged environment of the time.
   

Kevan A.C. Martin

 
Kevan A.C. Martin is Professor of System Neurophysiology and a Director of the Institute of Neuroinformatics (INI), which is a joint insititute of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich and the University of Zurich. Kevan was born in Cape Town. After completing his B.Sc. degree with major subjects Logic and Metaphysics, Physiology, and Psychology, he obtained a Masters degree in Civil Engineering (cum laude) from the University of Cape Town in 1975. He won a graduate scholarship to Wolfson College, Oxford, where he completed a D. Phil. in Developmental Neurobiology. From 1980 to 1995 he was a fellow of University College, Oxford. He is a Foreign Associate of the Royal Society, South Africa and was Henry Head Research Fellow of the Royal Society, London, from 1990-1995. In 2004, Fernwood Press published ’A Painters Journey’, his biography of the South African artist, Paul du Toit.

Ginna Fleming

 

Photographer Ginna Fleming has a lifelong interest in the cultures of indigenous people around the world.

In the 1960s, she lived in Nigeria for three years and thus grew her interest in African art. More recentlyshe has explored the mountains and villages of Asia, the deserts of Africa and the Middle East, along the Mekong river from China to Vietnam, and the islands of the Pacific. Always her goal is to meet and talk to people, and photograph them at home, at work or in performance in rural and traditional settings.

Fred van der Wilk

 

Fred van der Wilk

Born in The Hague, Fred has travelled extensively throughout his working life, especially in Southern Africa. Now retired, he has lived in southern Spain for the past 12 years but still likes to travel. His African art collection was purchased mainly from Johannesburg galleries over a number of years and he is happy that it has come home.

Her Excellency, Ms Lindiwe Mabuza

 

Her Excellency, Ms Lindiwe Mabuza

Born in Newcastle, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, Ms Mabuza began her career in 1962 teaching English and Zulu Literature at Manzini Central School in Swaziland, followed by lecturing in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota.

Between 1969 and 1979 she became Assistant Professor of Literature and History at Ohio University and then moved to Zambia to take up a position as a radio journalist with the African National Congress's Radio Freedom. She was also Editor of the Voice of Women, a journal by African National Congress women, and Chairperson of the African National Congress Cultural Committee in Zambia.

She became a Member of the first democratic Parliament in South Africa in 1994, followed by five years as Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. She became High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa in the United Kingdom in 2001.

Canon Collins Trust Fund

 

Canon Collins Trust for Southern Africa was founded in 1981 as the education arm of the ’Defence and Aid Fund’. The Fund, set up in the 1960s by anti-apartheid activist Canon Collins and banned under apartheid, paid for legal costs and provided welfare support for individuals and families of those accused of political offences including treason by the South African regime.

In 1990, following the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners and the unbanning of anti-apartheid organisations, Canon Collins Trust developed a scholarship programme in South Africa, mainly at Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs). Individual black students were supported mostly on science and education courses at a range of universities and technikons. At the same time the study programme in the United Kingdom was continued.

In 1999 the Trust expanded its remit and begun supporting small educationally focused projects, and students from Angola, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi as well as South Africa and Namibia.

Margaret Johnson

 

While working at the Australian Embassy in Pretoria in 1973 and 1974, Margaret Johnson was introduced to 'township' artists by Di Johnstone. She happily supported their artistic work and has enjoyed taking her small collection around the world with her during her 27 year diplomatic career. She is delighted to join other donors in returning her collection 'home' to South Africa where it belongs.

Moira Rowan

 

Moira Rowan is a South African living in London and has travelled and worked throughout Europe and Africa. It was on one of her travels that she discovered that there were many talented South African emerging artists whose work was not receiving the global exposure and financial rewards that they deserved. At the same time she noticed that there was a gap in the market for affordable art - art that was ascetically pleasing, had meaning and that could appreciate with value - given the right marketing strategy. She founded RowanAfrica in 2002 and has also recently started to feature some international artists. What started out as a hobby for Moira is rapidly turning into a business that is beneficial for artists and patrons of the arts.

Jerry Lincoln Prillaman

 

Jerry Lincoln Prillaman was Cultural Counselor at the American Embassy in South Africa from 1973 to 1975. Before that he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, and as a Foreign Service officer held diplomatic posts in Ivory Coast and Madagascar. >From South Africa he continued to Cameroon, Paris, and Harvard as a Fellow, then returned to Washington where he headed U. S. overseas book programs until 1986, when he was assigned to India as American Cultural Counselor. From there he went to Paris again to serve until 1994 as Embassy press spokesperson and chief of the press service. Since his retirement from the foreign service, he has lived in France. From Virginia, he completed undergraduate and law studies at the University of Virginia, and is a past member of the Virginia State Bar.

Laurence and Anne Coutts

 

Laurence and Anne Coutts were in South Africa in 1973 and 1974 when Laurence was Second Secretary (Immigration) with the Australian Embassy. Both took a keen interest in the art and craft of African people. They met artists and craftspeople particularly in Capetown and Lesoto. On return to Australia Anne opened a small art gallery in Canberra with the aim of promoting African art. Woodcut prints, pottery, rugs and tapestries sold well and the proceeds were sent back to the artists but sadly the finer works did not. The impression was that people, at that time, were not so keen to have works of a more disturbing nature on their walls. Laurence and Anne were happy to part with the few items they had held onto and have been enthusiastic about Ifa Lethu.

Caroline Duah

 

Caroline Duah, the daughter of artist Katherine Church (1910 – 1999), donated the ‘shoemaker’ in memory of her mother. A strong anti-apartheid activist, Caroline produced the Newsletter for the Lewisham (UK) Anti-Apartheid Group which commissioned her mother to paint some portraits of Govan Mbeki.

Sue Scott

 

Sue Scott worked at the Australian Embassy in Pretoria 1973-75, where she met many Soweto artists and purchased a number of their woodblock prints. The stewardship of these much enjoyed works is a privilege which Sue is happy to relinquish with their return to the people of South Africa.

Victor Gordon

 

Victor Gordon – this South African born artist has exhibited, practised and taught art in Australia since 1987, and constructs paintings, sculpture, assemblage, collage, drawing, photography and installation. His wide ranging concerns and techniques offer uncompromising, refreshingly unique and often quirky and challenging artistic statements.

Derek and Elise Levin

 
 

Derek and Elise Levin donated a total of 13 artworks to Ifa Lethu, including works by Nathaniel Ntwayakgosi (Nat) Mokgosi and Billy Molokeng.

Tor Sellström

 

Tor Sellström, a Swedish citizen, has closely followed the liberation struggles in Southern Africa including Angola , Namibia and Zambia, Zimbabwe etc., through his career as a researcher for various Swedish agencies. In October 2002, he took up the position as Counsellor (Economist) for development cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria, South Africa. Sellström joined ACCORD in January 2006 as a Senior Advisor and coordinates the Research Unit, serves on the Editorial Board of the African Journal on Conflict Resolution and is attached to the Director’s Office for the development of the Africa Peace Centre. He is a member of the Ifa Lethu Global Advisory Council.

Princeton N. Lyman

 

Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman is the Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ambassador Lyman’s career in government included assignments as deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa (1981-86), U.S. ambassador to Nigeria (1986-89), director of refugee programs (1989-92), ambassador to South Africa (1992-95), and assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs (1996-98). He served as director of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 1976-78. He sits on the Ifa Lethu Global Advisory Council.

Steve Etheridge

 

I worked in the then Australian Embassy in Pretoria in 1984-87. Those times left an indelible impression on me with many memories of the remarkable and courageous men and women working so passionately for change and democracy in South Africa. Among those memories are the works of township artists. The works were not then recognised for what they are - authentic images from the lives of ordinary people. Not only are they a reflection of social life and consciousness, they are outstanding and defining works of art. I recall purchasing these works by Ezekiel Madiba from the artist around 1985. I am very proud to be able to return them through Ifa Lethu. I am happy to make them a gift, because in reality a gift was made to me of these remarkable pictures. I have been their temporary owner, but they will be happier returned to where they belong and where, thanks to the Foundation, they can speak again to everyone in their own land.

Russell Rollason

 

Russell Rollason visited South Africa in 1975 on behalf of the anti-apartheid movement in Australia. At that time he worked as Information Officer for the Australian Council of Churches. A science graduate from Queensland University Russell holds a Masters degree in General Studies from the University of NSW. He is a former Executive Director of Anglicare Australia (1998-2004) and Executive Director of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (1983-95). He currently works with Australian Government overseas aid program, AusAID. In 1998, he became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to international development and humanitarian aid through ACFOA, and to the promotion of social justice in Australia.


Melissa Becker

 

Melissa Becker was born in South Africa and studied at the Michaelis School of Art. Tired of the lack of acceptance of her art that reflected local cultures, and her strong identification with her heritage as an African, she left SA in 1976 to study and live in the USA. She eventually immigrated to Australia where she continues to follow her dream by exhibiting and teaching art. She is happy to share her work with the people whose history she has depicted and to contribute to bringing about positive change in the country.




Renier Janse van Vuuren  
During the late seventies to approximately the early nineties I worked as an architectural draftsman at a small architectural firm in Celliers Street 90, Sunnyside, Pretoria. The office being in the one half of a semi detached house close to Esselen Street.

Ezekiel Madiba used to sell his woodcut prints from door to door trying to make a honest living. On our first meeting I saw and loved the works presented to me and started buying some, asking him to come around again next month. I often loaned him money for transport, he would always return the loan, often with a small drawing as a gift or a print at a reduced price.

At that stage it was clear that Ezekiel struggled to make a decent living, however, he was always well presented. After moving to Ellisras I often wondered what had happen to Ezekiel only to meet up with him again after my return from Ellisras after two and a half years, again working at the same firm.

I am 63 years old now and often think of people who during my lifetime meant something to me or made a lasting impression on me, Ezekiel ! you are one of them.



John and Deirdre Hart  
A young Reginald Kumisa knocked on the door of John’s accountancy office in Durban one day in the late 1970s offering his art work for sale. John was so impressed with the work that without hesitation he purchased several pieces. These hung in his office until they were transported to Sydney, Australia in 1992 when John and Dee, a practicing artist herself, emigrated. They are delighted to have the opportunity to repatriate one of Reginald’s works, and have it join the Ifa Lethu collection allowing it to be viewed by a wider audience.


If you are interested in donating, loaning or bequeathing any art and heritage works to Ifa Lethu, please contact the Ifa Lethu office.