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DEATH OF TREVOR MAKHOBA (article first published : 2003-03-11)

Trevor Makhoba, one of South Africa’s most important artists, died last month. His unexpected death at the age of 47 has shaken the KZN art community.

Born in Cato Manor in 1956 Trevor grew up in Umlazi and received no formal art training. But this did not inhibit his career as an artist. His tremendous natural talent flourished. His paintings were flamboyant and professional. His vision was unique.

Jo Thorpe, the founder of The African Art Centre, realised that Trevor had an original vision and encouraged him throughout. Trevor was primarily a painter, whose vision made ascerbic comments on our society, sometimes using black humour to make his point.

He used oils, acrylic, pen and pastel. He lived and worked in Umlazi.

His solo shows are too numerous to mention. Trevor held many local exhibitions, most of them at the African Art Centre with which he remained in close touch throughout his career, but he also had shows in all major centres and overseas.

The highlight of his career was being named Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Visual Art in 1996. He exhibited in Rome, Stuttgart, London and New York.

As artist and teacher Trevor Makhoba’s influence has been considerable, He found his own style at an early age and his works were sometimes described as surreal. His subject matter was derived from his immediate surroundings. He painted – in his own words – “the history of blacks in this country from the hardships and all those things that happened to me and others.” Trevor’s paintings often presented a clash between black and white cultures. Throughout his life he remained concerned with the social ills of the past.

Makhoba leaves a great legacy. Not only his oevre, but also the many artists he taught to paint. His last solo show was the NSA Galleries in 2001. Many of his works were sold to foreigners who recognised his unique talent.

Makhoba’s work is represented in all major public galleries in South Africa. He was also a great musician and many of his works related to this theme. - Marianne Meijer




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