Nkosinathi Khumalo


Coming from Soweto a township that was established when demand for migrant labour increased as a result of the Gold Rush. I grew up in a township almost surrounded by mine dumps, where I used to run and play as a child. A mine dump is an unnatural (manmade) space that was never supposed to be used; legally mining companies are required to rehabilitate these spaces after the mine has closed. Although the sites are littered with no-entry signs, the communities around them use these mine dumps for various reasons. This (for me) is the reason why I choose to photograph mine dumps using old expired slide-film that is also not supposed to be used. Slide film is meant to be developed and processed as a positive (image), I choose to develop and process it as a negative. This unnatural way of developing film is called cross-processing, almost the same way the land is cross-processed by the mining industry to turn positive productive land into a toxic barren landscape. During my photographic process, I was using multiple exposures, treating the mine dumps as canvas that are layered with images of my own movements in and around Gauteng. This idea of mine dumps layered with movement was inspired by the increase of labour migration when gold was discovered in July 1884, which lead to the city being established in 1885. Human migration into Johannesburg still exists even today, it is a makeup of the city itself. In one-way or another I am a direct descendent of those same mine labourers who crossed boarders to come live in Soweto and work in the city that is known as ‘the city of gold’. Throughout the body of work the images have lines running in-between them, as a reference of how land in South Africa has been divided for different ethnic groups through laws such as the Natives Act Of 1913. When one looks at the geographical placement of mine dumps themselves, they seem to be strategically placed to enclose or give one-access roads to certain towns such as Soweto or Riverlea etc. Therefore the various colours of these images signify the cartography found in old maps, as actual documents that show how the land is separated in a monochromatic colour. This work is a personal investigation of the land that has not only shaped my childhood and my upbringing, but also my African heritage as an adult. It serves as acknowledgement and an observation of where I came from and how my hometown became what it is. The work contains a sense of nostalgia that encapsulates the historic and the present time I live in, as young man raised in a mining township called Soweto.


Nkosinathi Khumalo is a South African born photographer from Soweto, Gauteng. He completed his Advanced Programme in Photography at the Market Photo Workshop in 2015.

Nkosi uses the relation between the photographic process and the resulting image to speak about the contemporary landscape of South Africa. His work speaks about migration, black industry and displacement of the Africa.

In late 2014, he was the first-prizewinner of the ‘Transformation Art Project’ hosted by Mashumi Arts Projects, together with German Engineering company based in South African called Reinhausen SA, which funded the competition.

He has also been featured in various group exhibitions such as, the June 16 VIP Youth Fest exhibition (2015) hosted by Live Mag curated by Kalashnikovv Gallery, the New Voices IV (2015) at Loizamore And Associates and the Sa Taxi Foundation Art Award Exhibition.

In late 2015 he was commissioned by world-renowned Italian crane company Fassi Group for their 2016 calendar. Just last year he was one of the top 6 finalists for the SA Taxi Foundation Awards (2016) showcased at Lizamore and Associates gallery. His latest exhibition titled: “What Does It Mean?” (2016), was a duo-exhibition showcased at Goethe On Main which was a project space by the Goethe Institute Johannesburg. This year Nkosinathi has been featured in the Brainstorm calendar, where he produced artwork for the month of June.

Web site: http://nkosinathikhumalo.tumblr.com |


Artist: Nkosinathi Khumalo Title: Dust, 205 Medium:
Size: H:87 W:124 D: Edition: 5 Price: R25000

Artist: Nkosinathi Khumalo Title: Negative land, 2015 Medium: Film Photography
Size: H:119 W:41 D: Edition: 5 Price: R16500

Artist: Nkosinathi Khumalo Title: Migrant, 2015 Medium: Film Photography
Size: H:60 W:87 D: Edition: 5 Price: R20000

Artist: Nkosinathi Khumalo Title: Factory, 2015 Medium: Film Photography
Size: H:23 W:56 D: Edition: 0 Price: R15000

Artist: Nkosinathi Khumalo Title: in Transit, 2015 Medium: Film Photography
Size: H:30 W:85 D: Edition: 5 Price: R15000

Artist: Nkosinathi Khumalo Title: Trailer, 2015 Medium: Film Photography
Size: H:40 W:60 D: Edition: 5 Price: R16000

Artist: Nkosinathi Khumalo Title: , Medium:
Size: H: W: D: Edition: 0 Price: R

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