Paintings

In spite of the oppressive nature of life for a black artist living in South Africa, Sekoto managed to achieve a fair amount of recognition during his early years living in Sophiatown, District Six and Eastwood respectively.

His paintings from this period evoke the vibrancy and energy of the cultural activity and tension of the townships and serve as historical records of a way of life as these areas were subsequently destroyed.

In 1930 Sekoto transferred to the Diocesan Training College (Grace Dieu) Anglican training college for black school teachers, near Pietersburg (now Polokwane) where he began to make portraits of fellow students.

Sekoto was recognized for his ability to capture the humanity and realism of everyday scenes, giving dignity to Black South Africans, without the distance that separated celebrated European artists at the time, from their subjects.

In 1934, Sekoto graduated and started teaching in the Primary department of the Khaiso Secondary School near Pietersburg. He began using watercolours in his works.

In 1938-9, he left teaching and moved to Sophiatown, Johannesburg to pursue career as full-time artist. He stayed with his cousin and painted on brown wrapping paper with poster colours. He was then introduced to Joan Ginsberg of the Gainsborough Gallery as well as Judith Gluckman who taught Sekoto to use oil paints in her studio (illegal under the apartheid regime) and Alexis Preller who gave him his first tubes of oil paint.

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