Johannes Segogela uses the metaphor of death to make a powerful statement about social and political transformation in South Africa with the dissolution of the apartheid regime. This particular sculptural installation was carved in anticipation of the elections held in 1994 that brought about the end of white minority rule in South Africa. According to the artist, the mourners at this funeral include the founder of apartheid (the old man with a cane), the chairman of apartheid (the figure with hands on top of his head), and the secretary of apartheid (the man with his hands over his ears). African National Congress supporters are represented with clenched fists. Segogela explains that the book and documents of apartheid are being buried in the coffin.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.