Mpumelelo Buthelezi (South African 1994-): I’THEMBA 1 //INGILOSI
signed, dated 2022 Archival Bartya Photo Paper 50cm x 50cm Unframed
Mpumelelo Buthelezi was born in the heart of the struggle, in Pimville in Soweto, Johannesburg’s largest township, a sprawl of formal and informal housing where culture drummed the heartbeat of resistance. He was born in the year of democracy, 1994. “They call us the Born Frees but education did not come free. I taught myself to become a photographer. I did it because I wanted to interpret the time and place I was born into, to tell the untold stories of the communities of my country, to present them as narratives, full lives lived in the margins. My parents had a different dream for me, their born free child”. He was sent to study formally and obtained a Diploma Degree in Engineering at the Central Johannesburg College in 2016. Everyone knew about the famous Market Photo Workshop, home to David Goldblatt and Zanele Muholi, and that’s where he studied photojournalism and documentary photography, graduating in 2017.
He has exhibited his work at Market Photo Workshop student Gallery in Johannesburg, Social Art Award in Germany, 2nd Prize winner Nikon yellow competition, Transitions Rotterdam Foto Festival in Netherlands, as well as a solo exhibition at WeTilt in Italy, He was on an artist- residency programme with Sir Prof Zanele Muholi and Muholi Productions He is currently on another virtual artist -residency with Wendy Network for arts unchained. He recently was awarded the best photographer of year category under North-West Media Awards 2021. He received a 2nd Heather B. Mattera opportunity photography scholarship to New York 2022. He lives and works in Johannesburg