Self Portrait by the artist

George Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba
 ( 1912 -  2001)

12 July 2001 by Andries Loots

On the 11th of July the Art Community of South Africa once again lost one of its best known pioneer artists,  GEORGE PEMBA

Pemba was a passionate man who lived for art and his fellow men. When he started his long struggle in 1931 to become an artist,  it was against all odds as it was unlikely that any black person could become a full time artist  and yet it is here that he achieved his fame. In 1944 he made a statement, "I do not know if ever I will become a great artist........ ?"

Pemba however believed in himself and although nearly too late, it showed in the prices people are prepared to pay for his work. He is regarded as one of South Africa's greatest pioneering artists.

His work is rich in colour,  balance,  perspective and there is always a harmonious arrangement of these elements. His work reflects his honesty,  integrity and sincerity.

Private Collection

He was not only a painter and illustrator of various books locally and internationally  but also wrote two plays of which the most famous " Nonquase ",  was based on a H.E. Dhlomo's play of a girl who had to  kill to save her nation. He did a series of paintings to illustrate this story a few years after the play was completed.

Pemba's main source of inspiration came from the people from both the rural and the township areas that he captured in his paintings.

Private collection

He lived in Motherwell outside Port Elizabeth and was wheelchair  bound for the last part of his life. His work is represented in many private collections locally and abroad and is also included in  major corporate collections in South Africa.
He will be dearly missed by his family, friends and the Art community of South Africa and those who had the privilege of knowing him.

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