EXPLORE the career and life of South Africa’s most famous trader-painter. Read his letters to his benefactors which show how he struggled to make ends meet as a painter. See how the colourful lives of Pemba and another great artist, Gerard Sekoto, intersected. Read from the diaries Pemba kept all his life, and chuckle at the artist, wearing his cartoonist’s hat, lampooning political figures of the day.
RESEARCH: Text/archive: Tshepo Maloi | Images: Nhlanhla Mthethwa
» A COUNTRYMAN IN CLERK’S CLOTHING
Read how George Pemba wrote, in his beautiful script, to "Mfundisi" — most likely his patron, the Rev. Shepherd of Lovedale — explaining how he had moved from Port Elizabeth to King William’s Town to experience rural life. Even nine years before his "grand tour" of South Africa, Pemba was chomping at the bit to flee the confines of the city.
» THE STRUGGLING PAINTER
George Pemba struggled to find the funds for formal art training, and to establish his name in the art world.
» BEATING THE COMPETITION
Take a quick glimpse at how the lives of George Pemba and Gerard Sekoto mingled early in their careers in a remarkably unexpected way — Pemba, fresh out of his first stint of formal training at Rhodes University, won the May Esther Bedford Art Competition, beating Sekoto, who came second.
» A GRAND TOUR
Read extracts from the diaries of George Pemba. Here, he describes how he raised the money to go on a painting tour of South Africa, and his odyssey’s inspiring effects on his work.
» THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN APARTHEID
See the work of Port Elizabeth’s precursor to Zapiro, George Pemba.