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Meet the young artist behind our #Mandela100 art

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, News24 commissioned a talented young artist from Johannesburg to create a special illustration for News24 Facebook users to use and share.

[Update your Facebook profile picture with the frame by clicking here, or take a picture using the frame by clicking here]

Simphiwe Mangole, 25, is an illustrator and designer based in Johannesburg whose portfolio caught our eye when we came across his distinctive and youthful portrayals of Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.

“The impact uTata Nelson Mandela has had on my life is one that I can’t even quantify myself,” he tells News24. “With uTata Nelson Mandela being one of the prominent figures that led the oppressed people of this country to liberation, I feel his struggles and self-sacrifice have awarded us the freedom to be whoever we want to be, but more importantly, the power of possibility through thought.”

Mangole grew up in a small coal mining town in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, known as Dundee. “It was what city dwellers would consider the middle of nowhere!” he jokes.

With only one road running in and out of the small town, he was forced to come up with creative ways to deal with boredom: “I chose drawing and creating my own trading cards because my parents couldn’t afford to get me any. This made my craft at a very early age my salvation.”

Mongole was deeply inspired by the cartoons that used to air when he was younger, namely Dragon Ball Z, Felix the Cat and some of the classic cartoons on Cartoon Network. Getting into trouble for drawing inside textbooks was a weekly occurrence, he says.

By the time he became a teenager, he was heavily influenced by hip hop and comics, specifically graffiti. “That influence drawn from graffiti still echoes through my art in bold line work, colours and urban subject matter” he says.

Looking to the future, the young artist says his goal is to “create freely, for the people, while still showing those who aspire to create that there is possibility, a career and an important place for creativity in this world”.

View a time lapse of how our #Mandela100 artwork was illustrated, as well as some of Simphiwe’s other work, below:


You can find more of Simphiwe’s work here and you can follow him on Instagram here.