Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Award-winning artist Layton Lungile Phambo, 48, was a friend to art and a friend to life, says his artist friend Agrippa Nhlapo.

The gifted artist - who displayed his work at the Mofolo Art Centre - of Dube, Soweto, lost his long battle against cancer on December 4.

His love for art, which spanned 28 years, had brought him countless honours, including a first prize for drawing at the University of Zululand in 1986.

He also contributed to the five-metre welded sculpture at Uncle Tom's Hall in Orlando West, Soweto.

Born on December 25 1960, Phambo took part in many exhibitions locally and abroad. In 1990 he exhibited his drawings at the Standard Bank National Drawing Competition and a year later he furthered his career at the Johannesburg Art Foundation under the late Bill Ainsley.

Always striving for the best for artists in the township, Phambo co-founded the Soweto Visual Artists, which is affiliated to the Social Development Department, in 2003.

Above all he was a family man - a loving husband to Ankie and the best father to 15-year-old Luyanda.

Nhlapo says Phambo was also very close to his brother Aubrey.

"He was a very friendly person with lots of humour. I guess that is why they called him Lungile. He made people laugh wherever he went," says Nhlapo, who had been Phambo's friend for 29 years.

Phambo might eventually have succumbed to cancer of the spine but his legacy will live on.

He will be buried at the Avalon Cemetery in Soweto on Sunday. The service is at his 2238 Dube Extension home from 8am to 10am.