Michael Javett Obituary, Death – Javett studied law at Wits University and then practised as an attorney at Webber Wentzel. He moved to London to join the international law firm Allen & Overy and subsequently pursued a career as a merchant banker at Hill Samuel. The Mike de Kock website reports that on his return to South Africa he established the Unisec Group that was later sold to Standard Bank. He also established Tolux SA, which has since become Brait.
From 2006 he focused on philanthropy and was instrumental in establishing the Javett Foundation, and more recently Javett-UP, which took many years of planning. In his distinctly unobtrusive but eminently influential manner, he was the driving force behind the creation of the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP), an extraordinary Centre that first opened its doors in September 2019.
Built on the belief in the emancipatory potential of the arts in society through multidisciplinary curatorial and pedagogic initiatives, the Javett-UP was created through a partnership between the Javett Foundation and the University of Pretoria.
Javett passed away just a few days before the birth of the last art project in which he was directly involved, Mihloti ya Ntsako – Journeys with the Bongi Dhlomo Collection, a book currently being printed. It chronicles the coming into being of the Bongi Dhlomo Collection, a unique compendium of 138 artworks produced in the 20th century by both well-known and lesser-known black South African artists.
Throughout the book about this unusual collection process, Michael is “deliberately rendered invisible”, consistent with his character and his desire to centre Bongi as the prime driver of the project. And that is how he was, always there, minding from the wings and never wanting to take centre stage. He believed in democratisation and access to artistic education for our youth and diverse societies, to the betterment of our country and the region.