Repatriation

Ifa Lethu Foundation locates, protects and promotes an important part of our heritage that was created during the struggle era and found its way out of thecountry during those turbulent years. When Ifa Lethu officially launched in November 2005, their collection of repatriated heritage art works was growing rapidly. From humble beginnings with the collection of Di Johnstone, followed quickly by that of another Australian former diplomat Bruce Haigh, the Foundation had a significant beginning to its repatriation efforts.

At the launch, then Chair Dr Mamphela Ramphele said: “For me, this collection, as embryonic as it is right now, symbolises the work that lies ahead in assembling a portfolio of ‘lost’ art works created throughout the struggle for freedom, the number of which can only be guessed at. It is also testimony that Ifa Lethu is succeeding in its task of recovering, safeguarding and making available to all South Africans this valuable work as a reminder of what went before, and as a lasting tribute to the artists who lived through it, and who recorded those times for generations to come.”

Since then Ifa Lethu has become recognised as the largest heritage repatriation organisation in South Africa. There are currently over 300 art works – paintings, drawings, sculptures, wood carvings, and prints - in the collection.

 
This heritage material also serves as the springboard for aspiring artists in undeveloped communities and has resulted in numerous development programmes across the country – from arts and crafts workshops to poetry and creative writing studies. These groups of young people are mentored and coached by some of the struggle-era artists whose works have been repatriated and reside in the Ifa Lethu Collection.

Ifa Lethu Foundation has repatriated collections from countries such as Australia, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, Spain, Holland, the United Kingdom and Germany – more than 16 countries to date. On every overseas trip made by CEO Dr Ramdhani, every article written about this unique work, generous owners come forth with prized pieces to unselfishly send them home to be shared with the youth and people of South Africa.
Further collections have been identified across the globe and every endeavour is made by Ifa Lethu to facilitate their repatriation to their home country. Ifa Lethu thanks all its generous donors who make this possible.

If you wish to be an Ifa Lethu donor, please contact the Foundation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.