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.
- Thamsanqa (Thami) Mnyele
- The President's Council
- South Africa
- Offset lithograph in black on cream wove paper
- 452 × 348 mm
- Gift of Artworkers Retirement Society