Looking at a portrait by Themba Mkhangeli‚ you would probably not guess it was done with little more than a ballpoint pen — and a lot of talent. The self-taught 23-year-old artist who lives in Nyanga East is busy planning his first solo exhibition.

Mkhangeli says his love for drawing started when he was about ten years old back in Julukuqu village near Mthatha.

“Drawing was what my brother and I loved doing … We used to compete with each other. It was all about enjoyment‚” says Mkhangeli.

In 2007‚ he came to Cape Town to join his mother who had a meat stall in Nyanga.

“I only found out about art in Linge Primary School when I started doing Grade 5‚ here in Mau-Mau in Nyanga‚ [and] when my teachers kept asking me why I am not taking my talent further. I was so confused because I did not know what they meant‚” he says.

Later‚ Mkhangeli went to New Eisleben High School‚ but because art was not taught as a subject‚ he did mathematics and physical science. After matric‚ he enrolled at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology [CPUT] for a design course.

“I focused on drawing‚ so I failed my first year twice because of theory. After failing the second time‚ I dropped out [of CPUT]. But I did obtain substantial knowledge about art because we had a chance to visit galleries‚” says Mkhangeli.

He started uploading his drawings and paintings to his Facebook page. In 2016‚ he got a call from an art gallery‚ which then exhibited his work. Interest in his work increased after that. Read more