This delicate etching from 1969, when Shilakoe was at Rorke’s Drift, is a eulogy for the families that were being torn apart by the vicious social mechanisms of South Africa’s mining industry with its migrant labour policies, by the state’s forced removals and by its daily, grinding petty apartheid.
As in some examples of work by his contemporary Peter Clarke, the title gives a context for the grief of the mother in the foreground of the image, crying uncontrollably, perhaps for a child, or a husband and father who may not come home. It also speaks to the fundamental social and family dislocation that the apartheid system engendered, and which blights our society to this day.
Artwork courtesy of SABC Art Collection.
Stop Crying Mother He May Come
Image Size: 23 x 31 cm