Photo of Thami Kiti

Thami Kiti

b. Machibini, Eastern Cape, 1968.

Thami Kiti moved to the informal settlement of Crossroads in the early 1980s, and presently lives in Khayelitsha. Kiti learned to carve at the Community Arts Project. His skillful carvings draw on his rural upbringing and Xhosa identity, and express deep respect for the natural environment and the medium of wood itself.

From the Against the Grain catalogue: “Thami Kiti’s works draw directly on his Xhosa culture, in particular, [the] frequently revisited theme of sacrifice that is associated with most significant ceremonies that mark rites of passage, such as initiation, birth, marriage and death. His strong interest in three-dimensional form and narrative is best seen in references to the [hybrid] female forms that he calls “goat women”… Kiti’s “goat women” capture a transformative, liminal moment [that] is accentuated through the representation of movement…The [inclusion] of hybrid figures in Cries of Crossroads introduces the use of animal as metaphor for the human condition, whereas the dramatic interplay between goat and woman in several works [symbolizes] the interdependence between human and animal beings. In Kiti’s animal sculptures this inter-relationship is more ambiguously handled…”

Exhibitions (group)

2017: Innibos Laeveld Nasionale Kunstefees craft competition, Mbombela
2013-14: Against the Grain, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Sanlam art Gallery, Bellville.
2005: Encompass, Cape Gallery, Cape Town.
2001: Homecoming, Gug’Sthebe, Langa, Cape Town.
1997: Shadows of Robben Island, Robben Island, Cape Town.
1995: (two person show, with Wanini Hill), Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town. 1994: The Loft, Cape Town. Idasa Gallery, Cape Town. Wood panels, AVA, Cape Town.
1992: Made in Wood: work from the Western Cape. South African National Gallery, Cape Town. Sculptors of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch, 1991: Centre for African Studies, UCT (organized by Andrew Steyn and Mario Sickle), Cape Town.
1990: Joseph Stone , Athlone (with Ricky Dyaloyi, Billy Mandindi, Wanini Hill). Cape of Good Hope Castle, Cape Town (with Vuyisane Mgijima, Timothy Mafenuka and Xolile Mtakatya).
c. 1986 – 1993: annual exhibitions, Community Arts Project.


University of the Western Cape (CAP collection).
Private collections in South Africa, USA and Europe, notably the Ronnie Levitan Estate, Cape Town.


2013: M. Pissarra Against the Grain, ASAI, Cape Town 


c. 1986- 1995:  attended part-time courses at the Community Arts Project


2017: 1st prize, Innibos Laeveld Nasionale Kunstefees craft competition. Mbombela, South Africa


2008-2011: Assistant puppet maker, Handspring Puppet Company.   1996: Thapong International Artists Workshop, Gaberone, Botswana.