IID – The African Institute of the Interior Design Professions
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A Tribute to Eric Phofu


Eric Phofu 1963 – 2018 | Black Dot Design & Building

I first met Eric in 1986 when he and a team of designers from Anglo American attended night classes at Greenside Design Center. Those classes pioneered the GDC that exists today. One must remember that in those days, when apartheid was at its worst, times were tough when you were black. There was a curfew on and all people of colour had to be off the streets at some crazy early hour. I had to write an official looking letter on our letterhead stating Eric and his friends were attending classes till 9pm! Inevitably, they were stopped in roadblocks week after week and that letter came in handy. As our friendship developed over the years we spent many hours laughing about the absurdity of those times.

Eric went on to become a Member of the South African Council for the Architectural Profession and later a member of the African Institute for the Interior Design Professions the IID. Eric rose through the ranks with great enthusiasm, becoming a member of the national council and ultimately a director. In all the roles he took on he excelled. He was very good with people with his calm engaging personality. He had many good ideas to help transformation in the industry, including trying to get recognition for artisans who have years of experience but no formal training. The IID is pursuing that vision as we speak.

Eric often took overseas friends of mine around Soweto and gave them his first-hand account of the bad days with great gusto and enthusiasm. He never tired doing this and made many friends along this path. Eric was a people’s person and this is further borne out in his involvement with the youth of Soweto, where he gave up his time voluntarily to train hundreds of children in the art of karate.

You will be sorely missed by many. May you rest in peace my brother!

Prof Des Laubscher
Director IID Professions