Born in 1946 near Sophiatown, Johannesburg, Nat Mokgosi became a full time visual artist in at the age of 29. The exaggerated social realism of his art mirrored the social inequities and political abuse of the time.
He was universally loved and respected by his students as one of the countries most influential art teachers, and throughout his life Nat Mokgosi dedicated himself to the upliftment of Black artists.
In the ensuing four decades of his career, Mokgosi’s work has been collected by private individuals and public entities, including the Ichikowitz Heritage Art Collection. Nat’s lifetime of art serves as a unique legacy to South African history.
There are some individuals who work in a quiet and understated way and yet, they change the face of a nation. One such individual is Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati. Her first job was as a typist in the law firm of Mandela and Tambo Attorneys – a role that put her amongst the great African visionaries of the 20th century.
Mompati was a founding member of the Federation of South African Women, and helped organise the momentous 1956 Women’s March to protest against pass laws for women. In the early 1960s, Dr Mompati became one of the first women to leave for exile, telling her mother and young children that she would return in a few months. Instead, she rose to become a driving force in its international liberation movement. After 27 years in exile, Dr Mompati became a member of parliament, ambassador and mayor ofher home district in Vryburg, North West Province.
The feisty and fierce daughter of Lithuanian Jews who immigrated to South Africa, Helen Gavronsky Suzman became the leading opponent of apartheid for 36 years within the dark chamber of the Afrikaner dominated parliament. Refusing to be indifferent towards the injustice around her, she consistently challenged discriminatory legislation and the spate of security laws.
Suzman also became a voice to the international community for many in the banned ANC and PAC liberation movements, and developed a close relationship with Winnie Madikizela Mandela , until she retired from Parliament in 1989.
The Helen Suzman Foundation was founded in 1993 to honour the life work of Helen Suzman. The Foundation seeks to promote the values espoused by Helen Suzman throughout her devotion to public service.