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Thursday, March 7, 2024


 (Thami Jali’s works on the Mphendla Ndlela exhibition. Photos by Paulo Menezes. Text: Russel Hlongwane)

It's an exciting time in the KZNSA gallery with the recent opening of Thami Jali's solo exhibition, Mphendla Ndlela, curated by Angela Shaw, Page Hadebe, John Sempe and Thulesazi Dube.

“Njoba neyami indlela yakhanyiswa izibani zabanye, nami ngifisa ukwenza njalo, ngikhanyisele abanye ngesami isibani.

(Right: Thami Jali)

“Since mine was illuminated by the light of a select few, I take it upon myself to light the path of others,” says Jali.

Sewn together in this exhibition are threads of an homage to individuals who are driven by the restless spirit. In particular, three people, Helen Elizabeth Martins and Nukain Mabuza, along with the artist’s grandmother.

Jali has long been inspired by such visionaries (a deliberately avoidance to call them artists) from a young age. Starting with his grandmother who played clandestine tricks with the mirror and light, to Mabuza through his Stone Garden and later encountering Helen Martins of the Owl House (Nieu-Bethesda, Eastern Cape) which can be described as the meeting of light (and dark) through ground glass and stone. Whilst he first encountered these restless spirits at a very tender age, it is only now that he has decided to honour them through his exhibition.

(Left: Works on the exhibition)

The exhibition is aptly titled, Mphendla Ndlela (I’m looking for a way), he posits Nukain Mabuza as a sojourner charting a unique path. 

The artist is also referring to his own journey, turning a corner to (high)light the candles that have illuminated his own journey, not only as an artist but as a human being.

“Whilst this exhibition is about homage, it is also his urge to artists operating in this moment to look to these agents as anchors and seers of something beyond the visual. 

To operate outside of trends and that the artist’s vision should not be tethered and distracted by public perception. Nawe phendla eyakho indlela.” - Excerpt from text by Russel Hlongwane

The KZNSA Gallery is situated at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, in Durban. More information on 031 277 1705 or cell 082 220 0368 or visit