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The President's Council

A work made of offset lithograph in black on cream wove paper.

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  • A work made of offset lithograph in black on cream wove paper.




Thamsanqa (Thami) Mnyele (South African, 1948-1985)
Sergio-Albio González (Cuban, born 1931)

About this artwork

During his reign as prime minister (1978–84), P. W. Botha, a staunch defender of apartheid, established a council to advise the president on equitable state reform. The council was composed of appointees from the communities known, under the official system of racial segregation, as “Colored” (meaning multiracial), “Indian” (meaning South Asian) and “Asian.” Weary of Botha’s duplicity, blacks rebuffed invitations to join.

In this witty broadside, Thamsanqa Mnyele placed Botha’s head in the bowels of a gramophone machine. Three dogs—symbolizing the council’s racial diversity—obediently absorb their “master’s voice” (a reference to a 19th-century recording industry trademark). Mnyele uses this image to critique Botha’s self-serving cultivation of politicians who would do his bidding and that of the country’s white elite.


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Prints and Drawings


Thamsanqa (Thami) Mnyele


The President's Council


South Africa (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Offset lithograph in black on cream wove paper


45.2 × 34.8 cm (17 13/16 × 13 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Artworkers Retirement Society

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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