Daughter Zoe with artists Colin Sabapathy and Kiru Naidoo

As the nation mourns the loss of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, local artist, Collin Sabapathy painted a portrait to pay tribute to the struggle hero in the week leading up to her funeral on Saturday, 14 April.

This painting formed part of the South Africa in the Making Exhibition at Moses Mabhida Stadium. For Sabapathy, painting the portrait had brought up memories of his own involvement as a freedom fighter. “I started at university as a freedom fighter. Right from the start, I’ve been a part of the struggle and Mamma Winnie was someone I always admired. Inthe painting, you’ll see her strength, sadness and the struggle. The rock represents strength and the water represents the people,” he said.

This is not the first politically charged painting that Sabapathy has painted. His portrait of President Thabo Mbeki hangs in the Union Buildings in Pretoria. With paintings in 35 countries across the world, the former curator and art teacher now paints from his home studio in Chatsworth, Durban.

Sabapathy holds a postgraduate degree in finearts from the University of Durban -Westville.