He doesn't give up easily.
His first trip from Cape to Cairo by motorbike was in 2017, but when he arrived in Kenya, he fell ill and had to turn and go back to Johannesburg. Fine Artist and Philanthropist Reggie Khumalo (33) was traveling to sell his artwork across the continent and donate money to different schools, communities, and families in the continent of Africa.
“Before I left South Africa for the first trip, I had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, but I still left,” he says.
In Tanzania he got Malaria but then continued and travelled to Kenya where he got very sick and had to turn back.
“At the border of Kenya and Ethiopia, they were fighting. I rode back feeling sick and went to Johannesburg,” he says. Reggie went through a stringent medical check, tests, and medication only to find he has been misdiagnosed and was developing cancer cells that had not yet become cancer.
“It was a bacteria and after some time, I managed to recover from it,” he says.
Last year, he then embarked on his second journey to complete his Cape to Cairo trip, alone on his motorbike.
“The second time I went all the way to Egypt,” he says. “The aim was to sell my paintings to raise money to donate to African Women Chattered Accountants (AWCA). I also contributed some of the funds to feeding school kids in Malawi. I helped to finish the renovations to a school in Ethiopia, and all the money came from my artwork,” he says.
Reggie had been selling his art online and exhibiting across the country since 2016.
“I did a big exhibition in Ethiopia to raise the money for the feeding scheme in Malawi,” he says. Reggie believes the only way to get ahead in life is to help those less fortunate than you.
“Once we have climbed the ladder of success; it’s important to take people with you,” he says. "I call it radical Ubuntu because it seems radical to give when everyone is so selfish,” he adds.
This time around, Reggie will be embarking on a tour of Europe in January 2021 where he will be exhibiting and selling his art in Paris, Spain, Berlin, Amsterdam, Netherlands and ending with a big exhibiting in Rome at the UN World Food Programme Headquarters to unveil a painting that he had been working on called, The Last African Supper which will be auctioned from $100.
After his second trip, Reggie was made The Goodwill Ambassador for the UN World Food Program in the SADAC region.
“The UN World food program approached me. They support SADAC countries with food when there are disasters. I am taking my work to tour Europe where I will have multiple exhibitions and donate to SADAC. We will make food donations to schools and families as well as donate to female-run programs,” he says. “I understand the plight of women in our African continent and I want to pledge my support.”
Born in Alexandra township in Johannesburg, Reggie describes himself as a nomad.
“I travelled across the continent with my late father and we lived in Zimbabwe, Botswana and other countries and that is where I got my love for travel,” he says. The self-taught artist started painting professionally in 2013, the same year he sold his first painting.
“I didn’t study art. I completed Grade 12 and started looking for work like any normal kid who couldn’t afford university. I had no access to my father’s assets after he died, so I went to work at a framing store instead of going to university,” he says.
“I worked as a framer until I opened Art Investments, an art gallery in Parkhurst with my mentor Cindy Mabaso Kyana,” he says.
“I then left the gallery business because I had a heart for film and scriptwriting at the time. The gallery also closed down, but art kept demanding my attention,” he says.
Eventually, in 2016, Reggie decided to pursue a career in art and exhibited and sold his paintings.
Today, his art is sold across the world and all the profit made is ploughed back to those in need. “What’s the point of success if you don’t help to empower others less fortunate than you,” he says. “I want to change lives and I don’t need to wait for a saviour when I can do my bit with the little I have."