My son showed to me how to see colour


Mogorosi Motshumi is a brave man. South Africa’s first black political cartoonist has survived arrest, detention and solitary confinement – driven by a commitment to say what he must, regardless of the consequences. But there’s one thing he has always been afraid of: colour. His entire career, Motshumi has limited himself to drawing in black and white. Then he reconnected with his estranged son, and learned to see the world in a different way.

Motshumi began his career in Bloemfontein the late ‘70s as a freelancer for a provincial newspaper, The Friend. He was arrested for carrying banned literature and was placed in solitary confinement. After his release, he moved to Johannesburg to continue his career. He spent 25 years working for publications like The Voice, Daily Sun and City Press. Despite his status as a respected cartoonist, Motshumi chose to keep a low profile.  His work changed with the birth of his son. Despite growing up away from his father, Atang Tshikare grew up to become a world-renowned, award-winning artist – whose work is full of colour. The two have reunited in recent years, brought together by a bond that is as creative as it is paternal. And the father isn’t the one doing the teaching. Tshikare has given Motshumi the courage to move away from the comfort of monochrome.

As a result, Motshumi used colour in his graphical autobiography, The Initiation. Published earlier this year, the book was a decade in the making. It’s a symbol of the bond between father and son. Despite being separated by distance and age, art has brought them together.