For Ceaser, one of the greatest moments in his development as an artist was in 1999, when he had heard that Marisa Ficke Jordaan, the owner of the BAT Shop in the BAT (Bartell Art Trust) Centre on Durban harbour, was looking for artists to work on a jacket that she had to make for a Miss Universe competition.
Ceaser remembers the moment vividly. ‘I was standing in this long queue of crafters holding the two birds that he and Thafa had made. But then Marisa saw the birds and she called me to the front of the queue. She shouted out “Who are you?” She was so excited by what she saw. She immediately asked me to come back the next day with my partner to work on project together.
‘I was so excited, I felt that I was flying on the way home. That night we did not sleep.
The triumph at the BAT Centre and Ceaser and Thafa’s participation in the Miss Universe project was only the start of a number of opportunities to participate in national and international competitions and projects and to be recognised internationally.
Ceaser pays tribute to a number of other prominent women in the art world who took a special interest in helping to promote his career. Notable among them is Sue Greenberg who first owned the Bayside Gallery at the BAT Centre and then the Artisan Gallery in Durban’s Florida Road.
He first visited her gallery hesitantly, because he could see that Sue only sold ceramics. But she loved his work and immediately entered it in a national art competition in Johannesburg, where he won one of five merit awards.
Ceaser also credits Sue for helping him to speak English more fluently. He mentions how he would take products to her gallery and then sit talking to her for hours.