William Kentridge
Casspirs Full of Love
Drypoint, from 1 copper plate, each print with slight variations, on Vélin d´Arches Crème paper
167 x 96 cm
Courtesy of the Artist

Casspirs Full of Love – an etching on paper - depicts a structure resembling a shelved box containing seven severed heads. The title of Casspirs Full of Love was inspired by a radio message in which a mother wished her son in the army on the South African border ‘a good tour of duty’ and ‘a safe return’, sending the message ‘with Casspirs full of love’. A casspir is an armoured riot-control vehicle. They were used first by the South African army to protect its borders with Angola and Mozambique and later by the security forces to quell riots and demonstrations. The original drawing was made at a particularly turbulent time in South African political history. In 1985, as a result of increasing township violence, South African President P.W. Botha declared a state of emergency in some areas of the country. The security forces were given broad powers to arrest and detain suspects at will and the media was banned from documenting the racial unrest. The state of emergency was renewed every year until 1990 when President F.W. de Klerk began the reforms which led to the eventual dismantling of the apartheid system.