Thuso Chair, Mmapula Tladi-Small was the principal guest of the High Commissioner at South Africa House on November 18th where her father’s life and artistic talent was honoured with the launch of a book, “The Artist in the Garden” written by Angela Read Lloyd. The book tells of Moses Tladi’s time as a gardener at the Read family home near Johannesburg in the 1930’s. He started painting with leftover house paint and a stick and was encouraged by the art-loving Read family. Moses  was the first black painter to have work shown in the National Gallery in Cape Town –  although he was not allowed to see them in situ.

The author, Angela Read Lloyd, a descendant of the original Read family, gave a speech about how she managed to rediscover Moses whose whereabouts were unknown for decades – and how he was inspired by the garden of the Read family home and the landscape in which his own home was set. Sadly he never painted again after the family was forcibly removed from their home to Soweto in 1956.


Mmapula then made a very moving speech in which she gave an account of family life with her dearly loved father. She related how the forced removal to Soweto destroyed the spirit of this instinctive and gifted artist and how sad it was that he never knew he would eventually achieve worldwide acclaim for his paintings.

The book “The Artist in the Garden” by Angela Read Lloyd may be obtained from at the price of £25. It is full of Moses Tladi’s magnificent paintings.