SAM Nhlengethwa was born on January 9, 1955 in Payneville, Springs. He still lives on the East Rand and is close to his community and proud of his neighbourhood and its heritage.
In 1978 he completed a two-year fine arts diploma at the Rorke’s Drift Art Centre and his career has grown enormously since then. He has exhibited his work in many countries (one of his favourites being Cuba, at the Havana Biennale) and it features in many public collections from the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the German Art Museum in Frankfurt to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
His studio is based in downtown Johannesburg at the internationally recognised Bag Factory Artists’ Studios. He exhibits regularly at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg and, in a communal spirit, frequently collaborates with other artists, including Robert Hodgins, Andrew Tshabangu to Zwelethu Mthethwa.
In a biographical feature on www.artthrob.co.za
, Sean O’Toole writes: "Nhlengethwa is an artist curious about the intimacies of home, an artist drawn to the immediacy of his surroundings, and — importantly — an artist whose work has sometimes reflected upon the epochal moments defining recent South African history."
Nhlengethwa was particularly excited about this commission for the Sunday Times Heritage project because, he says: "I was born an Orlando Pirates fan."