Sipho Njengezi visualizes mindfulness with rock formation performance

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Sipho Njengezi with this stone formations on the rocks at St James in Cape Town. (Supplied)
Sipho Njengezi with this stone formations on the rocks at St James in Cape Town. (Supplied)
  • Rock stacking or balancing is considered an ancient form of both installation and performance art that looks to visualise meditation and mindfulness. 
  • Sipho Njengezi was a self-employed fitness coach who lost his income when the state-imposed lockdown commenced in March.
  • After turning to rock formation, he has been commissioned to make an installation for Three Ships Whisky that sits at Norval Foundation. 


Sipho Njengezi is a rock sculptor behind the stone formations that rise about the rocks at Clovelly beach on Cape Town’s southern cape coastline. Njengezi began constructing the stone menhirs four months ago when he encountered a man who was creating an intricate stone formation while an audience watched him to it. Speaking to Arts24 about learning the skill, Njengezi said: 

I was mesmerized by the skill and care that he took with each step of the structure. I wanted to learn this artform and to create my own formations so I would spend days watching him, listening to him and learning until I knew that I could create my own formations from the stones and rocks above the beach.

Rock stacking or balancing is considered an ancient form of both installation and performance art that looks to visualise meditation and mindfulness. Njengezi says the stone formations are his way of expressing his approach to life centred around striking a balance and being determined enough to start again when things fall apart.

A long-time resident of the Kalk Bay community, Sonja Genis saw Njengezi at work and proposed for him to be invited to create a stone formation for the Three Ships Whisky Master’s Collection online sale. Taking place once a year, this year’s event saw Three Ships Whisky Master distiller Andy Watts launching his latest Master’s Collection. 

Sipho Njengezi working on a stone menhir. (Supplie
Sipho Njengezi working on a stone menhir. (Supplied)

There Njengezi created a rock formation to illustrate the balance achieved from the cask finish of by Watts’ collection. Taking place in the setting of the Norval Foundation, an audience witnessed his creation-in-progress live. 

The commission is a welcomed break for Njengezi who worked as a self-employed fitness coach in Cape Town. With a halt in income, he has been living in a shelter since the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown in March. 

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