Important South African & International Art, Decorative Arts & Jewellery

Live Auction, 10 October 2016

Important South African & International Art

Sold for

ZAR 341 040
Lot 563
  • George Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba; Pensioners Queuing for Payouts
  • George Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba; Pensioners Queuing for Payouts

Lot Estimate
ZAR 100 000 - 150 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 341 040

About this Item

South African 1912-2001
Pensioners Queuing for Payouts

signed and dated 93; inscribed with the title on a gallery label adhered to the reverse

oil on board
52 by 75cm excluding frame


A gift from the artist to the Port Elizabeth Black Sash in 1993.

The proceeds from the sale of this painting will benefit the work of The Black Sash Trust.

George Pemba's involvement in the struggle against apartheid is well documented. The writer Herbert Dhlomo, who met Pemba in 1944 when he was still painting with watercolour, places the painter's activism into a broader context. Dhlomo writes that Pemba believed an artist "must be well versed in the political, social and economical problems of the contemporary scene so that he can express his feelings, aspirations and will of the people".1 This painting, produced when Pemba was already an octogenarian, bears this out, both in subject and spirit. Pemba, who in 1985 produced a similar, if less dramatically positioned study of pensioners queuing, gifted this lot to the Black Sash. The Black Sash is a vintage civil society human rights organization. It partners with a network of community organizations throughout South Africa and today focuses on achieving socioeconomic rights for all, particularly the economically disadvantaged. Pemba was photographed presenting this painting to the organisation's regional chairperson, Judy Chalmers, at the launch of the Black Sash's vision statement in Port Elizabeth.

In 1994 Chalmers was elected to parliament on an African National Congress ticket. Pemba's allegiance to the ANC is also well known. In the late 1950s, having already established his name as an exceptional water-colourist and graphic artist, he was approached by ANC members Raymond Mhlaba and Govan Mbeki to contribute cartoons to the newspaper Isizwe: The Nation. Pemba's most notable cartoon portrayed Prime Minister HF Verwoerd in tribal regalia brandishing a knobkerrie and bible. In later years, having switched to oil on the advice of Gerard Sekoto, Pemba produced numerous portraits of the ANC's co-founder, Sol Plaatje. Pemba's involvement in the struggle was however more than party-political. He also illustrated for the Lovedale Press, an important publisher of black literature, and worked with liberal institutions like the South African Institute of Race Relations. These associations enriched rather than devalued Pemba's considerable reputation, which gained additional momentum following a 1996 retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery in Cape Town.

  1. Sarah Hudleston. (1996) Against All Odds: George Pemba, Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. Page 47.


The Black Sash, Port Elizabeth


The South African National Gallery, Cape Town, George Pemba Retrospective Exhibition, 1996, catalogue number 121


Sarah Huddleston. (1996) Against All Odds: George Pemba, his life and works. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball Publishers. Illustrated in colour on page 150.

View all George Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba lots for sale in this auction

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