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Thursday, July 15, 2021


(Victor Mpofu & Ezra Sekenhamo)

(Article and image courtesy of Durban Local History Museums and the Berea Mail)

The toll of Covid-19 on the arts and culture sector is undeniable. With numerous theatres, museums, and galleries closing their doors over the past year and a half, many have lost their only source of income. Add global travel bans to the mix, and it’s a recipe for disaster with the diminishing support of the international community.

Happily, various galleries and museums (including Durban’s own Phansi Museum) continue to empower local artists. One such gallery is the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts (KZNSA), who have opened their doors to two local wire artists, Victor Mpofu and Ezra Sekenhamo. The pair used to sell their bright and bold wire creations in Glenwood (between Helen Joseph and Bulwer Roads) since 2008. Their artwork was particularly popular with visiting tourists and this was largely where they made their revenue. However, the pandemic has left a huge gap in the market.

Of the impact of Covid Mpofu shared: “Covid-19 turned everything upside down. Our business is no longer functioning the way it used to. We used to have people from overseas giving us orders and companies used to give us business but now, there is nothing. We are now living from hand to mouth. Sometimes, we go without selling anything, which makes it hard for us to even pay for the accommodation we reside in.”

Unfortunately, the pair was recently fined R1,500 by the Metro Police for not having a trading permit and banned from operating without one. This sent waves through the community, with many rallying behind them in support of their right to work. Many community members argued that they were simply trying to make an honest living and that to deny them the right to trade during these precarious economic times was particularly harsh.

This is where the KZNSA stepped in, offering the artists a space in which to showcase and sell their work. The pair also aims to offer free lessons to anyone wanting to empower themselves through creativity, highlighting the great sense of camaraderie within the local art community.

Be sure to support this dynamic duo, and if you’re able to help the pair in enhancing their reach or have any ideas that might help them to boost sales and feature at other galleries, contact Victor on 073 599 2315.

Now more than ever, we’ve got to support our community!