Lindiwe Mabuza

Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches, 2009

"I first met High Commissioner Mabuza at a reception at South Africa House. We liked each other on sight and I extended an invitation to her to visit my home and studio to meet my family".

In advance, I had briefed my son William, aged 10, of the formalities of being introduced to a High Commissioner of great standing; a strong handshake and direct eye contact was de rigeour. We had made preparations to extract William from his prep school for the luncheon. The High Commissioner however, arrived early, in a beautiful cloud of blue and yellow, which happened to perfectly match the colours of our Drawing Room. William, somewhat flustered, arrives to be introduced and was taken aback by the warmth of her welcome and was clasped closely to her bosom. It was the beginning of a long-lasting and close friendship for us all.

My portrait of her was painted as a departing gift, when she concluded her term of office in London, to retire to her home in Pretoria. We continue to see her and regularly keep in touch via email and telephone.