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Sandra McGregor

Principally a portrait painter, Sandra found a small studio in Kloof Street and began to paint the people and places in District Six. For a young unaccompanied yet headstrong white woman, this was considered a highly dangerous if not foolhardy pastime, but the community - skollies included - welcomed and protected her - calling her 'onse artist'. In 1966, under the Group Areas Act of 1950, District Six was declared a white area by the Nationalist government. Between 1966 and 1982 approximately 60,000 people were evicted from District Six. Communities were broken up, families separated and immense heartbreak suffered - in particular by the elderly inhabitants of District Six, many of whom never adjusted to being forced to settle in remote areas of the sandy, inhospitable Cape Flats. Sandra painted in District Six from 1962 to 1980, both before and after the declaration. She witnessed the removals and the breakdown of a life and community that she had grown to love. Her story is at once inspiring and tragic. Living alone and desperately short of money, Sandra often sold her works on completion just to survive, or simply gave them away. Dolores Fleischer reveals in this significant book how Sandra McGregor accomplished so much both as a painter and an individual but with little recognition. In this book she records the artist's life and work in the context of South Africa's struggle for political freedom. Sandra's story is one of many, one window onto the reality of District Six, and a personal and poignant view of a place and its people, expressed through her experiences and her paintings.
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