Die een se dood - Elza Botha
Kgomo ya lefisa regama re lebelela tsela.
 Two run lithograph drawn using the monotype transfer method.
57 x 76.5 cm
Edition 25

Die een se dood - Elza Botha
die een se dood...
 Two run lithograph drawn using the monotype transfer method.
57 x 76.5 cm
Edition 25



The forthright wisdom of idioms intrigue me. I just cannot help conjuring up configurations of social commentary when I recall or hear some of these sayings that I have been familiar with since childhood.

die een se dood...
(... is die ander se brood: One man's gain is the other man's loss)

I have always been attracted to waiters.
Observing them, I saw them 'loose' their own heads (individuality) while they served rude and obnoxious clients with deliciously prepared meat dishes.

" 'Kgomo ya lefisa regama re lebelela tsela' is simply a gift. In the light of my exploration of Afrikaans idioms, Mark Attwood suggested an African idiom. I asked Joseph Legate, Mark's assistant, for five idioms which would enable me to visualise at least one (I know my boundaries). The one I related to immediately was 'kgomo ya lefisa regama re lebelela tsela' as it epitomised so much of my involvement in art historical documentation".

A loose translation of this Sepedi saying is "something which is not yours can be taken back by the owner at anytime".


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Elza BothaElza Botha holds a doctorate in art history from the Rand Afrikaans University (Johannesburg, South Africa). A mother of three children, she works as a printmaker and researcher into the visual arts. She worked as an art critic for the newspapers Rapport and Beeld from the 1970's until 1990. From 1987 to 1994 she taught History of art at the Federated Union of Black Artists (FUBA). Publications by Miles (her married name) since 1994 include Lifeline out of Africa, Ernest Mancoba: a resource book, Current of Africa: the art of Selby Mvusi and The World of Jean Weltz, and Land and Lives. Her book on Ernest Mancoba won the Old Mutual Literary Award in 1996 and the Recht Malan Prize.





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