By: Keletso Mkhwanazi.
Ennock Mlangeni is an award-winning self-taught visual artist, born in the small town of Petros Stein in the Free State. He moved to Sasolburg to stay with his grandmother after both his parents passed away at the age of seven. He told Vutivi News that he started doing art in Grade 4, focusing on comic characters. “Art is a reflection of my soul and my passion. My love for art was brewed in high school after I won an art competition, I started being popular with my art pen work on social media after I posted my drawings,” he said.
He became more popular after he nearly broke the internet with his Winnie Madikizela-Mandela pen portrait that he drew in 2017. It went viral again when she died in 2018, and that led him to win the biggest pen art national competition. The 31-year-old became a social media sensation when he painted his first art piece using coffee. “I created the most popular art piece of DJ Black Coffee using coffee granules and then later partnered with Nestle (Ricoffy), a big coffee brand,” he said.
In 2020 he held his first art exhibition and was featured in international shows participating in Belgium Genk at Uitstalling Art Gallery and also in multiple international group shows including Paris and Poland with the likes of renowned artist Lionel Smit and sculptor Anton Smit. Mlangeni told Vutivi News that he was working on an idea of a stokvel to make it easier to purchase his work.
“I am one amongst many other visual artists who have a great following on social media and a lot of people have always wanted to own my art piece. The stokvel is inspired by the traditional stokvel that has been practiced for centuries in our black society and also the lay-bye method,” he said. “I want to promote personal and group development and to also pull funds with a common purpose and outcome of distributing my artwork to everyone regardless of where they are in the world.
“I am the first artist to re-write the history of art so many times that I’ve lost count. The stokvel has gained traction even from people across the border and overseas clients from USA and Australia wanting to join the stokvel, so far 15 members have joined the stokvel and that makes me believe that I still have a chance to grow the stokvel,” said Mlangeni. He said the package started with 10 exclusive members who would each contribute R2800 per month and would get an art piece in the first week of December. Members of the stokvel would also be allowed to commission work.