The incredible Vittorio Meneghelli, Art Collector and humanist died last night in Johannesburg, he was 94 years old. Vittorio Meneghelli was born in Mirano in 1915 spending his school years in Venice. As a young adult he became an accountant, left Venice and moved to Mestre. There he met the lovely Paolina whom he married in 1941 on the shores of Lake Garda.

Vittorio began a venture to make shoes - a great Italian tradition - and during the last years of the war, he made and traded the standard issue army boot, travelling at night to evade machine guns from the Allied forces.

At this time Vittorio met the professor and sculptor, Alberto Viani, who would be a friend and an enormous influence, and the reason he attributes his inaugural interest in and love of the arts.

After the war Vittorio, sold up the shoe factory and travelled to South Africa with the thought of emigrating. He immediately loved the country and wanted to succeed in making a life in South Africa. It was in the later 1960s that Vittorino made his first trips through Africa and launched Totem Meneghelli, an art gallery, in Johannesburg.

At Totem he exhibited both collections of art from the rest of Africa and curated exhibitions of local artists - indeed he was one of the very first curators who understood the social and creative energy of curatorship and generated lively projects in which many artists enthusiastically participated.