The Western Cape Government is greatly saddened to hear of the passing of a remarkable man in the arts – Johaar Mosaval.
Johaar was born in District Six and faced great opposition under the apartheid system when he started dancing in the 1940s. Sadly he was not given the opportunity to perform to his potential in South Africa due to the restrictions on access to theatres and stages. In 1950, two visiting dancers spotted his talent and assisted him to get a scholarship to attend Sadler’s Wells Ballet School in London. He would go on to join the Royal Ballet School and within another year he graduated into the Royal Ballet Company.
In 1956 Johaar was promoted to soloist and performed his first solo for the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Covent Garden. She was joined in the audience by an array of royalty from across the world as well as many others world leaders.
Johaar’s ballet career continued for another 25 years as a principal dancer and he returned to South Africa in 1976. He opened his own ballet school in 1977 but it was shut down by the regime of the day.
Western Cape Minister of Cultural and Sport, Anroux Marais said: “Johaar Mosaval was a story of triumph in a dark time in our country. He was able to access opportunities for him to follow his passion for dance and he made a huge impact overseas. It is a tragedy and a devastating sign of the cruelty of Apartheid that he was not recognized and celebrated in his own country during that time. We honour him as a legend of our country, who paved the way for other dancers.”
Our condolences go out to Johaar’s family, friends and all those who knew him. He was a true legend of our country and his memory will long live on.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.