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Thabang Lehobye wins Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards 2021

TM Page 013The 33rd anniversary of Thami Mnyele Fine Arts competition awards were held virtually from the Dumisani Masilela Theatre in Germiston on 8 October 2021.

With over 400 entries from across the country adjudicators had their hands full.   

“The Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards embarked on an adventurous journey this year by going digital in response to the limitation of lockdown regulation to continue to serve the artist of South Africa. It was also a learning curve for the adjudicators as well as the artists,” said senior adjudicator Gordon Froud.

He added that adjudicators agreed there are a lot of positives that emerged from this year’s digital fine arts entry, “It clearly demonstrated how the fourth industrial revolution is taking sway even in old tradition of arts competition adjudication” said Froud.

It was evident that the pandemic affected the artist in different ways that can be traced through their work. Some work showed substantial use of household material or less time spent in studios amid ongoing concerns of digital access and the cost of data,” said Froud.

He explained that it was a difficult process to judge over 400 artworks online. Adjudicators selected the top 100 and then top 20.

Froud indicated that adjudicators debated in detail on content, technical aspects of the work giving each artist a chance, and in the end, the three winners emerged from the top 20.  

Overall winner

Thabang Lehobye from Johannesburg was the winner of the Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards 2021 for his animated video titled Fragments of Memories. He took home R100 000 and received his prize from Dorothy Mnyele.


 Ekurhuleni Prize

Sthembiso Zulu from Vosloorus won for a series of photographs titled Ngithunywe YiS’thunywa. Zulu received R60 000.00.

Honourable Mention Award

Feneard Fletcher from Boksburg received R10 000 for installation work titled Disassociation.

August House Emerging Artist Residency Award

This award, with an amount of R10 000, went to Jessica Frohlich from Randburg for Metamorphosis artwork. She will also spend three month doing a mentorship programme at August House. Nono Mohloki also won R10 000 for her multimedia artwork titled Lenyalo.

The total prize money for the Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards amounted to R190 000, including the Lizamore & Associates Mentorship & Exhibition Programme and META Foundation mentorship for  six months that includes visual art exhibitions.

The Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards was named after Ekurhuleni resident Thami Mnyele (10 December 1948 – 14 June1985), a struggle hero who was himself an artist.