Broadening the ‘Black Consciousness Aesthetic’: Muziwakhe Nhlabatsi’s illustrations for Staffrider, 1979-1981

By Deirdre Pretorius 

Muziwakhe Nhlabatsi, born in April of 1954, contributed illustrations to the anti-apartheid literary magazine Staffrider, from 1979 to 1987, under the shortened name “Mzwakhe”. [1] His illustrations appeared from the first issue of the second volume in 1979, until the fourth issue of the sixth volume in 1987. During this time, his illustrations graced three covers and he contributed over seventy images to accompany short stories, extracts from books, poems, plays and other texts by well-known authors such as Es’kia Mphahlele, Njabulo Ndebele, Mothobi Mutloatse, Chris van Wyk, Mongane Wally Serote and Andries Oliphant.  

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Avhashoni Mainganye: tireless spirit

by Vonani Bila

Avhashoni Ntsengeni Frederick Mainganye Mundalamo is the prolific and versatile visual artist from Phiphidi. The village’s main marvel after Mainganye is surely the Phiphidi Falls which lie within a dense forest on the Mutshundudi River near Thohoyandou. Most people of his age are flabby with pot bellies and often complain about stiff and painful joints, backaches, arthritis, ceaseless headaches, diabetes, hypertension and gout. Not for the soft-spoken Shoni or Mainganye, as he is affectionately addressed by friends. He grew up eating the nutritious mopane worms – masonja – whose protein and iodine levels are super high. And yes, art has kept him young and vibrant. Diminutive in stature, the slim and energetic grey-bearded man wearing his not-so-long dreadlocks, a pair of jeans and a military cap is a hard working artist. His ID says he was born in 1960. I meet him dressed in his apron, busy at work, at the Thohoyandou Arts and Crafts Centre, outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo province. It’s a warm Saturday late morning.

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Recalling The Natal Visual Arts Organisation: a roundtable conversation

Proceedings of a conversation with Sfiso ka Mkame, Thami Jali, Paul Sibisi and Zamani Makhanya, moderated by Mario Pissarra, with contributions from Scott Williams and Russel Hlongwane. 

Editorial note: Participants arrived at various times during the morning, leading to certain points being revisited with different inputs.

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