Bhekisani Manyoni

Bhekisani Manyoni, a Vosloorus-based artist, was born on September 6, 1945 in the town of Greytown in Natal. Manyoni’s family moved from Greytown to settle in the Dundee district, near Rorke’s Drift. As with so many who had benefited by attending Rorke’s Drift for their basic art education, the young Manyoni’s artistic skills were to be developed and enriched through Rorke’s Drift for his primary education, moving on to Maphumulo Junior Secondary School. He went back to Rorke’s Drift to do his standard seven and for the next three years he remained at the institution undertaking art classes.

At Rorke’s Drift Manyoni came under the tutelage of Leon de Smet, a Belgian born artist. He was employed by the institution for a period of two years during which time he was offered lessons in fine art, and in particular ceramics and weaving. While there, Manyoni became friendly with John Muafangejo who had great influence on Manyoni’s work. In fact, Muafangejo’s religious influence is noticeable in many of Manyoni’s pieces

In 1970 and at the invitation of the Swazi government, he was employed as a curator at the Pandora Gallery in Mbabane, Swaziland; vi and since the late 1970s, has been attached to the Katlehong Art Gallery where he offered lessons to disadvantage black communities, something he does to this day.

Manyoni’s area of specialization is in ceramic sculpture and lino design and he has exhibited in many countries, including Holland and Germany. He also produces wood carvings. He has received several awards such as the Hans Meresnky Trust Award at Grahamstown and at the Total Gallery’s Tapestry exhibition. His work forms part of the collections at the Durban Art Gallery, Unisa, Wits, Zululand University, the West German Ethnological Museum, the IBM collection, Putco Foundation and Sached Trust.

His work includes: Shaka and the Young Boys, Isangoma, Boys Chasing Swallows, The Dancer, Family in Love, Slaughter, Wedding, Sea Gulls, Spirit of Freedom, Story Teller, Journey by Train, Musician, Village on a Farm, Resettlement, Ploughing on a Farm, Eyes of God on the World, King and Wife, Desert, Composer, Great Trek, Lobola, Zionist Church, Calabash, Golden Calf, Priest and Congregation, Shaka Zulu, Indaba and Happy New Year.

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