Who is Madi Phala?
|Madi Phala, creator of the memorial to Reverend Isaac Wauchope and the SS Mendi, was 52 when he was murdered in May 2007 Picture: Courtesy of Lesley Perkes
"This is one of the greatest challenges I've had in my life to be given this chance with this piece," said Madi Phala.
"I have this belief that I have put my signature on the Mother City's belly and we've made a baby now. This will be more memorable than anybody buying my private work and keeping it in their lounge, because now this will be exposed to everybody."
Phala was born in Springs, Gauteng in 1955 and lived in Langa, Cape Town, until his death in May 2007. His first exhibition was at the Germiston Town Council in 1979 and since then his work has been exhibited widely throughout South Africa as well as in Botswana and London.
His works are to be found in the private collections of De Beers in London, the French Embassy in South Africa, Renault South Africa and the Minister of Arts and Culture, Pallo Jordan.
For much of his early career Phala was an art teacher at schools. He was a full-time artist from 1988, but continued to conduct workshops for young artists.
One of his last collections was for Renault South Africa and depicts the life of the rural herd boy. The Renault website's description of this work reads: "His compositions are tinged with the poignant reality and awareness of the poverty, lack of educational opportunities, and difficult circumstances faced by the majority of black South Africans."
"You are going to die, but that is what you came to do... Let us die like warriors."
Reverend Isaac Wauchope
King George V inspects the SA Native Labour Corps, France, 1917
Picture: © SA National Museum of Miltary History
IN THE CLASSROOM
In this lesson plan, learners will study two transcripts of oral sources and will be encouraged to appreciate the insights and feelings that these sources offer us. They will also study a "minute" from Louis Botha, the Prime Minister at the time of the disaster, and resolutions passed by a Christian African community on how they planned to carry forward the fight for the Empire.
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|Archive Photo Gallery|
|A small collection of images of Reverend Wauchope and the men who died with him in the SS Mendi disaster.|
|The brave Reverend Wauchope|
|In February 1917, hundreds of SA Native Labour Corps members died when the troopship SS Mendi sank in the freezing waters of the English Channel.|