Art breathes life for wanderer

2015-07-23 06:01

Mpho Shadrack Mathebula is helping other young people to learn art.

Mpho Shadrack Mathebula is helping other young people to learn art.

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Mpho Shadrack Mathebula is a self-taught artist dreaming big.

Born in Tzaneen 33 years ago, Mpho arrived in the Mother City in 2005.

Not knowing anyone in Cape Town, he was forced to sleep on the streets.

As the wintry weather ate into his skin, a burning ambition kept growing inside him.

“ It was a very windy and wet month when I arrived, I slept on the streets,” he said.

Like a determined soldier, he persevered because his “dream was bigger”.

“Whilst sleeping on the streets, somebody helped find him a place at a shelter called The Ark,” he said.

But Mpho soon left the shelter because he was, as he puts it “squashed and suffocating.”

“The artist in me wanted to roam about, and at the shelter I felt constrained. I hit the streets and met a magazine vendor who sympathised with me and took me to his shack in Nkanini,”he said.

The duo clicked and they began working on his art, selling some of it to “make ends meet.”

Mpho eventually met a young woman who provided the money for him to study art in college and enhance his latent gift.

By the time he graduated at the arts school, the wandering spirit in him had led him back to the streets.

He also even became a newspaper vendor, and with his earnings had managed to buy himself a sewing machine and started designing ceramic, mosaic, painting and printing art. Life was good, he even got to work at a hair salon in Eersterivier but still continued with his craft.

Mathebula has now moved to Khayelitsha where imparts his skills to youth

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