Spending time with vibrant and talented artist and writer Effie Joffe of Fish Hoek was inspirational. A very young 81yr old, both in looks and vitality, Effie’s warmth and humour made for lively and easy conversation.
A distinguished sculptor, Effie is also an accomplished pianist, painter, writer and dressdesigner. She has been sewing her own clothes since the age of 10. Her love of sculpturing and art developed when she was a young girl growing up in Botswana. During the hours she spent sitting outside the kraal of Tchekedi Khama, uncle of Sir Seretse Khama and a colleague and friend of her father, the old women of the kraal would give her clay to play with and it is the image of the African women feeding their babies under the baobab trees in a desert landscape dominated by mauve and purple and earth shades that have inspired her bright palette and her interest in the human form.
Her family moved to Johannesburg when Effie started school. Her mother’s death when she was 9 years old left a void that Effie strove to fill with people, many of whom became life-long friends. She grew up as a free spirit finding inspiration for her creativity in nature and the emotive responses in all kinds of people.
A mother of 5 talented children and grandmother of equally talented grandchildren – the musical and artistic genes run strongly through the entire family – Effie found the time to teach sculpture for many years while living in Johannesburg – both at the Wits Centre for Continuing Education and privately. She was commissioned to paint murals and for four years created sculptures on commission for ABSA Bank. A humanitarian at heart, Effie also spent 16 years doing therapy work with mentally and physically challenged people of all ages teaching them sculpture, pottery and art . “Art and music and writing are the best therapies in the world. All come from the same well,“ says Effie.
After moving to Fish Hoek about 8 years ago, Effie joined the Dalebrook Life Drawing Group where her love of painting and drawing was rekindled. She also joined the Fish Hoek Scribblers which took her writing in different directions . “For a while I became totally hooked on writing limerick,” she says with a laugh.
On getting old, Effie says: “It is remarkable how so many things can go wrong with your body, but you continue to feel so well.” I guess it is Effie’s passionate involvement with her family, her friends, her art, her music and life in general that have kept her feeling and looking as great as she does!