Turning rubbish into art

Sibingelelo Mguga makes his artwork from recycled material Picture: Fredlin Adriaan

Port Elizabeth “visual artist” Sibingelelo Mguga is putting his creativity to good use, keeping children off the streets by teaching them how to make their own works of art.

Mguga, 40, an unemployed father from Veeplaas, has been producing his own artworks from recycled materials since 2011, after losing his job at an elevator company.

He began his creative journey by turning a former illegal dumping site into a craft hub, where he produces his artwork as well as teaching youth how to make things with their hands.

“When I initially got here, some of the residents were angry with me because they said no one had a problem with the dump site, no one complained and here I came,” he chuckled.

“I collected material from construction sites, some stuff I picked up, but everything I use is recycled,” Mguga said.

Placed next to a white tin shack in Khoza Street, Mguga’s 3D creations depict society’s contrasts, mansions opposite shacks and informal dwellings.

“My work shows the situation we are currently in as black people because we elect people who are supposed to help us, but once they get into those positions of power they forget about the ‘little people’ – the ones at the bottom who put them at the top.”

Mguga, who was born in Cathcart, said his vision was to convert those “busy with crime to become pillars of the community”.

“I’ve approached some of the mischievous ones from around the community to join me in my vision and pave the way for others to follow and be positive role models.

“I want people to sustain themselves, gain skills that make them employable and end unemployment,” he said.

Mguga’s creative artwork includes 3D structures as well as mosaics.

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