(1959 - 2021)

Velaphi Mzimba was known for his larger-than-life portraits and still lifes. He developed a technique that was entirely his own and instantly recognizable. His large canvases on textured surfaces are full of expressiveness and humanity. His subjects gaze as you in such a particular way that afterwards you feel as if you have encountered the person depicted.  Mzimba also depicted Zama Zama miners (illegal gold miners), often with landscapes in the background. He also focused on portraits of children and women – some large-scale oils and some smaller works on paper. He was also known for more eclectic images featuring portraits and objects in a single composition and he made numerus sculptures, graphic works and paintings on found objects.

Born in Soweto in September 1959, Velaphi Mzimba's colourful paintings reflect the vibrancy and rapidly evolving environment of contemporary South Africa. Although he was deeply involved in the struggle for liberation against apartheid, his work is infused with optimism and humanity. At the age of nine, Mzimba discovered his love of drawing and was encouraged by his father.

At the age of sixteen he joined Mofolo Arts Centre in Soweto where he learned drawing, oil painting and pastels with Dan Rakgoathe. Due to the 1976 uprising, the school was closed and Mzimba became involved in the protests. Two years later he won a bursary to study at the Art Foundation under the late Bill Ainslie.

In 1981, Mzimba had his first solo exhibition at the Carlton Hotel, Johannesburg in a gallery run by the South African Association of Arts. He worked as a professional artist based in Johannesburg from then on. Today Mzimba's work graces many public, corporate and private collections worldwide.  

Velaphi Mzimba passed away from COVID in June 2021. He died in the arms of his wife Boitumelo while waiting to be attended at hospital.


Solo exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town
People and Places, group exhibition, Imibala Gallery in association with Everard Read

100, group show, Everard Read, Cape Town
Possessed, group show, Everard Read, Cape Town

Winter Exhibition, group show, Everard Read, Cape Town

Khumalo, Mzimba, Dyaloyi, three man exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town
One man exhibition, Everard Read Johannesburg
View from the south, group exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town

One man exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town
One man exhibition, Everard Read, Johannesburg
One man exhibition in London, Rebecca Hossack Gallery


One Man exhibition, Sculpture, Everard Read Cape Town

One man exhibition paintings, Everard Read, Johannesburg

One man Exhibition, Everard Read Cape Town

ArtLondon, Duke of York’s Headquarters, Kings Road
One man exhibition Everard Read , Cape Town

Participated in ArtLondon Fair, Chelsea Barracks, London
One-man exhibition at Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg

One-man exhibition, African Spirits, The Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
One-man exhibition, at LFK Gallery, Hong Kong

Unity from Diversity, Solo, at the Natalie Knight Gallery, Johannesburg.
Group show Knight Galleries International at the World Trade Centre, Toronto, "Windows on the New South Africa". Sponsored by SAA.

The Spirit of Africa, one-man show at the Natalie Knight Gallery, Johannesburg
Cultural diversity, Group Show, at the Natalie Knight Gallery Johannesburg.
South African Art Group Show at the World Trade Centre in Toronto curated by the Knight Galleries International. He was commissioned to design the exhibition poster. Visited Toronto.

Exhibited in a group exhibition at the Everard Read Gallery, JHB

Group exhibition at the Natalie Knight Gallery in Johannesburg

Group show "African Encounters" at Knight Galleries, International in Toronto.

One-man show in Windhoek, Namibia

One-man show in Washington, U.S.A.
One man show at Leephy Studios in Johannesburg.

One-man show at the Shell Gallery in Johannesburg and Cape Town. One-
One- man show in Swaziland.

First one-man international show in Groomsport, Northern Ireland.

First one-man show at the Carlton Hotel, "South African Art"

Fort Hare University, African Museum Sanlam, Sancorp, EMI, Anglo American
Hunt Lascaris S.Africa, Merrill Lynch S. Africa, J.C.I. S. Africa., Alexander Forbes.

USA, Canada, Munich, Australia, UK, Japan, Geneva, South Africa, The Dallas Museum, Frankfurt, Germany

Images of man S.A. Artist Diary