Enjoying success with his rubbish art
Poverty spurred Mbongeni Buthelezi to source his materials at the local dump
FOR MANY years, Mbongeni Buthelezi spent most of his time sifting through piles of rubbish at his local dump site to make art.
The poor teenager would spend hours rummaging through the enormous heaps of rubbish scattered over the Springs dump in the hope of stumbling across material he could use to create his novel artwork.
“I grew up in a very poor home and so I couldn’t afford any art materials,” Buthelezi said.
“I knew that I couldn’t give up my dream just because of my circumstances. If anything, it pushed me towards thinking differently.”
Each time Buthelezi visited the dump, he would be immediately attracted to the bright colours of plastic that shone in the piles of garbage.
And so he decided to take a handful of plastic home with him to see if it was something he could work with.
“The elasticity of plastic intrigued me,” he said. “I had nothing to lose and so I thought why not try and create art with the waste plastic I’ve collected?”
This was the start of a fulfilling process for Buthelezi, a former herdboy from KwaZuluNatal.
Over the next 26 years, the artist created hundreds of unique pieces of work from plastic waste.
His artwork has been exhibited extensively locally and internationally and his works grace many private and
Mbongeni Buthelezi talks about one of his works ahead of the exhibition.