Here today, gone tomorrow: A brief look at art thefts in South Africa

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On 5 February 2011, four William Kentridge prints were stolen from the David Krut Projects gallery space in Parkwood, Johannesburg. (Photo: Supplied)
On 5 February 2011, four William Kentridge prints were stolen from the David Krut Projects gallery space in Parkwood, Johannesburg. (Photo: Supplied)

The prodigal sculpture

Willie Bester invited guests to the unveiling of a sculpture titled Saartje Baartman at his studio on 7 July 2000. While waiting guests noticed a figure in his garden. 

It was a large bronze figure that Bester says he bought from the SA Metal scrap yard after recognising it as a piece by David Brown. Following a conversation between Brown and Bester, it was found that the figure was a public commission titled Tightroping made for the Johannesburg Art Museum. It had been missing since being stolen in 1996. 

In 2002 it was returned to the museum’s possession. 

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