SA loses icon ballet dancer Johaar Mosaval

The passing of legendary ballet dancer and cultural icon Johaar Mosaval has been described as a “great loss” for South Africa’s cultural treasury by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mosaval, an Esteemed Member of the National Order of Ikhamanga, passed away yesterday (Wednesday) at the age of 95.

During 1965, the trail blazer was appointed as the first black South African to be a senior principal dancer at the prestigious and world renowned Royal Ballet in England following his move to the country in 1951.

“Johaar Mosaval was an outstanding human being and creative who complemented his personal achievements with a deep interest in developing the communities in which he lived and performed,” President Ramaphosa said.

Mosaval spent some 25 years performing all over the globe as a solo dancer and dancing for the Royal Ballet with a notable performance at the Royal Opera House in London during celebrations of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Upon his return to South Africa in 1976, he dedicated his time to teaching ballet – opening his own ballet studio in 1977 – and was appointed as the first black Inspector of Schools of Ballet under the then Administration of Coloured Affairs.

He resigned from that appointment in protest that he could only share his knowledge with a limited part of the population. Following that, his ballet studio was closed by the Apartheid government because it was open to all races.

“His life story is one that fills us at one level with pride and inspiration but which also reopens for us the inhumanity and hurt that apartheid inflicted on individuals and entire sectors of our society, including our cultural life and the performing arts.

“Under difficult conditions, Johaar Mosaval enjoyed and leveraged his life of celebrity to create a legacy of service to the people of Cape Town and our nation more broadly. May he rest in peace,” the President said.

Source: South African Government News Agency