John Koenakeefe Mohl was born in 1903 at Dinokana Village in Lehurutshe, Western Transvaal. As a child, Mohl used to draw with ‘pepa’ on rocks and making clay objects. He later attended the Tigerskloof Training School, there he attained a teacher’s diploma.
Mohl subsequently accompanied a German artist to Namibia where he studies painting at the Windhoek School of Art. He returned to Cape Town in 1936,and started with painting Kgosi Tshekedi Khama’s portrait, which was shown on the Empire Exhibition. Mohl won an Academy award for painting in 1943.
Mohl was a founder member of Artists under the Sun in 1960. In Soweto he began to exhibit his paintings in his garden and sell them to Soweto residents, as well as to tourists. His preferred medium was oil paint and his desire was to paint what was known to him, therefore township scenes were often the theme of his works.
He passed away in Soweto, Johannesburg in 1985.