En­joy­ing suc­cess with his rub­bish art

Poverty spurred Mbon­geni Buthelezi to source his ma­te­ri­als at the lo­cal dump

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SAMEER NAIK

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.

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