Welcome to Colleen Walcott’s site. Life is a wonderful gift, full of precious memories that should never be forgotten. Now these memories can be shared so that you too can enjoy them forever.
Colleen was born in Cholo, Malawi. At the age of 4 her parents fled Malawi due to political unrest and in fear of their lives. They settled in Zimbabwe near Centenary. At the age of 6 her parents bought a farm called 5th Chapter in Centenary. Here the family faced many hardships, many triumphs and many memories were made. From the age of 5 Colleen attended pre-school as a weekly boarder. This was very difficult as she missed her parents and the farm desperately. She then went on to Mvaukwees Primary School where she was a full time boarder and only went home in the holidays. Colleen found school very traumatic. She was dislexic, ADDHD and suffered from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Unfortunately she was undiagnosed and there wasn't any awareness regarding these disorders so she was rejected, picked on, humilated and isolated. Colleen couldn't wait for the term to end to return home to the farm. On the farm, she was able to commune with nature. She developed amazing relationships with wild animals and so enjoyed her time in the mountains and bush surrounding the farm where she took to observing/photographing and drawing the creatures and landscapes around her. At the age of 13 she went to Senior School at Chisipite. She did not enjoy this at all and threw herself into her sport. She achived well in sport. Colleen's disorders went undiagnosed and so she continued to be rejected, criticised, ridiculed, abused and isolated. She continued to withdraw from people and found her solice and strength and healing in nature and in being home at the farm. In 1972 the internal political fraction fighting in Rhodesia started in Centenary and continued for 10years until Mugabe came into power. The family and other families went through very stressful times. They lived in fear of their lives. The army was short on men and so called the farmers into active duty. This left the wives and children on the farms in great danger. Memories of learning to load and clean weapons in the dark still prevail. After school she studied at the Institute of Languages in Harare. Here she completed her O levels and did extra courses, and did her A levels. This got her accepted to Natal Technikon in Durban, South Africa. Colleen left the farm and came down to South Africa to study the details of her studies are below. Colleen continued to draw and paint. After college, Colleen entered the comercial world of atrwork and screen printing. It was incredibly difficult for her here in SA, as she was not a SA citizen. Getting jobs was difficult but she persevered and landed a great job where she established herself in the industry. Colleen could not return to Zimbabwe on a full time basis as she is gay and it was against the law in Zimbabwe. She however continued to go back to the farm every year as much as possible to renew her strength, recharge her soul and clear her mind. With each visit she was able to get new material for her drawings and paintings. The farm and the animals and creatures continued to be her only source of inspiration. Unfortunately due to the political situation in Zimbabwe, The family farm was taken from them in 2001. Her parents were beaten and terrorised and the government refused to renew her passport. She was officially refugeed in South Africa. Fortunately she was able to get South African citizenship. This entire experience, devastated Colleen. She stopped drawing. She grieved for deeply for the farm as it had been her peace, her refuge, her inspiration. The farm is what she held in her view whenever she encountered hardship or trials and remembered thatshe would soon get a chance to go home and escape. Not only had she lost that, but her parents had lost their home, their business and even their pets were killed in front of them. Her folks had always paid every tax, complied with every rule and law the Zanu Pf introduced, they also only ever farmed one farm in the family. Neverthelesss their farm was taken against all the reasons it never shoud have been, it was. In April of 2005 Colleen was diagnosed with colon cancer. They operated, removed her left ovary, 24cm of her large intestine and 7 lymph glands. She then underwent chemotheraphy until Dec 21 2005. She had a full spectrum of tests done and she was in the all clear. In August of 2005 Colleen and her life partner of 5 years travelled around South Africa by car and Colleen began to find fresh inspiration. her soul began to embrace the beauty of South Africa and she started to photograph to draw. In Dec 2005 Colleen began to draw again. In end of March beginning of April 2006 Colleen was diagnosed with colo-rectal metastis. This meant that her cancer had transformed into a cancer that spreads and it had spread very rapidly. She had 4 operations in 8 weeks. They removed everything that was non vital. Unfortunately her small intestine was knitted together with growths to the extent that they could not remove it or pieces of it. They were able to save her life by creating a very short bypass around it for her to be able to function. At present Colleen has a number of growths inside her growing daily that cannot be surgically removed as it will cause fatality. She is going to be attempting chemotheraphy but her prognosis is not good.
Another problem that she has encountered is that the chemo component that she desperately needs called Avistan from the UK will cost R632 000, our medical aid has refused to pay. She fights on, on a daily basis.
Colleen has lead a life of trial and torture. Beyond what I have written here there have been many tradgedies, hardships, losses, abuse and the list goes on.
She is one of the strongest people I have ever met and she continues to face each day no matter how bleak and stormy with courage, bravery, love and the hope of a better day. She is an inspiration to all who know her and we salute her.
Colleen passed from this world on July, 25th, 2006. She left behind lessons in love, in life, in humility, in courage, in bravery, in wisdom, in strength, in perseverance and in peace. SHe now abides in a place where cancer how no power and she is victorious. We her family and friends salute her and remember her and her beautiful unique soul, always.
You will always be loved. xxxxxxx
1977 – Chisipite High School – Saulsbury, Rhodesia. Passed A & O Levels. “O” –English, History, Biology, Sociology, Art & Design “A” Levels – History of Art, Art & Design, Sociology, 1978-1979 – Pitmans Typing and Office English
1980-1982 – National Diploma in Fine Art and Design – Subjects passed: History of Art, Painting, Graphic Art, Methods & Techniques, Photography, Figure & Object Drawing.
1983 – Invited Back to do Higher Diploma Specialized in Painting, Silk Screening and Drawing. Practical work included a 70 pg thesis on “The dog image as a vehicle for personal expression” & and the nature of my personal work.
Penny Siopis (Personal Tutor)
Clive V D Berg
Summary of qualifications
1982 – Natal Technikon – N.D.F.A
1983 – Natal Technikon – N.H. D.F.A.
Student Works – A Level Achievements – 1977-1978
Traveled to various galleries within the UK
Undergraduate Group Exhibit – 1980 -1982
Natal Technikon Annually
Graduate Group Exhibition – 1982
Higher Graduate Group (4) Exhibition – 1983
Grass Roots Gallery, Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, Portfolio Gallery, Durban Art Gallery, & Natal Technikon Gallery, NSA Members Exhibitions.
Important Traveling Exhibitions:
100 Years of Natal Art – 1987, natal Arts Trust 1988, The Portfolio Anniversary – 1988 – 1989, Standard Bank National Drawing Exhibition – 1990
Solo Exhibitions: Café Geneve – 1984, John Bayne Gallery – 1986, Technikon Gallery – 1991.
Works Held In Collections:
Natal Arts Trust - “Bull”
Durban Art Gallery – “Bush Pigs Meet Dogs At Home”
Natal Technikon – Piece in permanent collection.
Obie Oberholzer Pvt Collection – “Pink Dog”
Carlos Pinto (Portugal) -2 works
June Barker (UK) – Frog
Norman Grierson (Zim) - Lizzard on Wall Under Flamboyant & Stormy Sky 5th Chapter
Awards: Offered the Emma Smith Scholarship as well as Invited to do a National Higher Diploma in Fine Art and Design which she subsequently did. She was also invited to do her Masters but declined as the call to build her commercial career beckoned.