Latest News

The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) has appealed a...
Members of the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) have...
GAPHATSHWA: Death brings everything to a halt, but sudden death as a r...
FRANCISTOWN: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)...

Portrait of a legend

Phillip Segola
Patrick van Rensburg (L) holding his portrait
Producing a portrait of any person is not an easy task. It is strange that when I undertook to produce the portrait of Patrick van Rensburg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Swaneng Hill School, I thought it would be easy, because I thought I knew him.

To some extent I was right. After all, I’d been at Swaneng Hill School from 1964 to 1969. I had also taken the assignment because I had been first to sit for the Cambridge School Certificate ‘O’ Level art examination in Botswana.

It was an important task and an opportunity of honour. Artists often shy away from portraiture and find it restrictive with little room for the very license we thrive on. I thought of an abstract van Rensburg. I decided that wouldn’t be fair. It has to be a product all of us should have opportunity to comment on and not be shunted into a corner in which they would not be able to comment on it.

I felt very confident because of this and the sort of person I had experienced at Swaneng and whose ideology I had not only experienced it in action but had also embraced and accepted as a standard in my life. The strange aspect of this experience was that  in those years I had just come from South Africa to study and live in Botswana. And South Africa had clear lines of demarcation in racial terms.

As a student, I found him easy to live with and was not aggressive but had authority. The majority of staff members were from abroad and a few South African exiles. Many of my fellow students who were at Swaneng at the time have stated that  it had been the single life changing experience in their lives.

Although I was still quite young, I saw something positive and felt very good about being at Swaneng with other students and teachers from the United Kingdom and the United States. Students at Swaneng learnt among many other skills the ability to build our classrooms if we needed more space.

The portrait of van Rensburg bears the title “PvR”. That is  how his staff referred to him. He was known as “Maraisberg” in Serowe. It was created from a photograph I had taken from Monty Kgosi who

was also a student at Swaneng. Monty was interested in photography and carried around those cheap old-fashioned cameras. He took pictures of many of us with our girlfriends. I cannot remember how I got it from him.

The realisation then hit me that the assignment I had taken was huge. I was to produce a portrait of “Pat” as I first met him, grew up under him and later got to interact with him in Gaborone.

I produced a charcoal drawing of Pat. I chose to produce a charcoal drawing because it’s my medium. So I was very comfortable when I drew it. It could not be a colour drawing because the picture was black and white and it would have taken me much longer.

 I had presented him as an engaging individual who thrived on ideas, tough he looked a bit boisterous though, like someone who knows what needs to be done. My impression of this image of him was re-inforced by the staff members he had assembled at Swaneng. At a time when uniforms were the order of the day in Botswana and indeed the whole of southern Africa, we wore what we wanted, built our own classrooms and importantly, challenged our teachers.

Van Rensburg is now 84-years-old. He would have been in his mid-40’s when the picture was taken. I have now another picture of him. In terms of the image I have created he is not that different. I see him with “older eyes”, but I still know him. He looks like someone who has not accomplished what he really needed.

When you sit down and talk with him, it’s like he has an impatience that stems from thinking that you will not understand what he really wants to get across to you. He is not the same person that I drew. At the time, the plan was still unfolding. One wonders how things would have turned out if his ideas for education with production had been embraced and put to use.


Banners ?>


Ministry of Sports and Culture

Latest Frontpages

Todays Paper Todays Paper Todays Paper Todays Paper Todays Paper Todays Paper
Adana Escort
Adıyaman Escort
Afyon Escort
Ağrı Escort
Aksaray Escort
Amasya Escort
Ankara Escort
Antalya Escort
Antep Escort
Ardahan Escort
Artvin Escort
Aydın Escort
Balıkesir Escort
Bartın Escort
Batman Escort
Bayburt Escort
Bilecik Escort
Bingöl Escort
Bitlis Escort
Bolu Escort
Burdur Escort
Bursa Escort
Çanakkale Escort
Çankırı Escort
Çorum Escort
Denizli Escort
Diyarbakır Escort
Düzce Escort
Edirne Escort
Erzincan Escort
Elazığ Escort
Erzurum Escort
Eskişehir Escort
Giresun Escort
Gümüşhane Escort
Hakkari Escort
Hatay Escort
Iğdır Escort
Isparta Escort
İskenderun Escort
İstanbul Escort
İzmir Escort
İzmit Escort
Karabük Escort
Karaman Escort
Kars Escort
Kastamonu Escort
Kayseri Escort
Kıbrıs Escort
Kırıkkale Escort
Kırklareli Escort
Kırşehir Escort
Kilis Escort
Kocaeli Escort
Konya Escort
Kütahya Escort
Malatya Escort
Manisa Escort
Maraş Escort
Mardin Escort
Mersin Escort
Muğla Escort
Muş Escort
Nevşehir Escort
Niğde Escort
Ordu Escort
Osmaniye Escort
Rize Escort
Sakarya Escort
Samsun Escort
Siirt Escort
Sinop Escort
Sivas Escort
Şırnak Escort
Tekirdağ Escort
Tokat Escort
Trabzon Escort
Tunceli Escort
Urfa Escort
Uşak Escort
Van Escort
Yalova Escort
Yozgat Escort
Zonguldak Escort
Alaçatı Escort
Aliağa Escort
Alsancak Escort
Bornova Escort
Buca Escort
Çeşme Escort
Çiğli Escort
Gaziemir Escort
Karşıyaka Escort
fethiye escort
iskenderun escort
iskenderun escort
iskenderun escort
iskenderun escort
iskenderun escort karataş escort ceyhan escort ankara escort etimesgut escort çankaya escort altındağ escort mamak escort keçiören escort