Zwelethu Mthethwa

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Zwelethu Mthethwa
Born 1960
Durban, South Africa
Nationality  South African
Education Michaelis School of Fine Art
Known for Painter and Photographer

Zwelethu Mthethwa (born 1960) is a South African painter and photographer. Mthethwa is represented in Cape Town by BRUNDYN + GONSALVES,[1] Johannesburg by Everard Read[2] and in New York by the Jack Shainman Gallery.[3]


Mthethwa, a native of Durban, received his diplomas at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. He received a Fulbright Scholarship that allowed him to study at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he received his master's degree in imaging arts in 1989. Upon returning home, he worked for some years in business before becoming a lecturer on photography and drawing at the Michaelis School in 1994. He left the post in 1999 to devote himself full-time to his art. Mthethwa is best known for his large-format color photographs, but also works in paint and pastel; he has had over 50 solo exhibitions in galleries around the world. Currently he lives and works in Cape Town. In 2013, Mthethwa was arrested for murder on May 5 after being captured on closed circuit camera hitting and kicking a woman to death on the street in Woodstock, Cape Town earlier in that year.[4]

Recent Developments[edit]

His work was included in the 2005 Venice Biennale[5] and the 2004 Gwangju Biennale.

Mthethwa's collaboration video work The Dying Minutes with Matthew Hindley has been selected for FIVAC, Festival Internacional de videoarte deCamaguey, Cuba 2011, and will be exhibited on the group show Global Groove at the new Eli and Eydthe Broad Museum, opening Fall 2012.[6]

Allegations of Murder[edit]

On May the 5th 2013 Mthethwa was arrested after being filmed on closed circuit camera hitting and kicking an unnamed woman to death on the street in Woodstock on April 13. He was also identified by an eyewitness. Mthethwa reportedly appeared the next day in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court, where he was granted bail of R100,000.[7]

Selected Recent Solo Exhibitions[edit]




  • New Works, iArt Gallery (now BRUNDYN + GONSALVES), Cape Town[11]


  • Zwelethu Mthethwa: Inner Views, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York[12]
  • Zwelethu Mthethwa: Brick workers & Contemporary Gladiators, Galeria Oliva Arauna, Madrid, Spain[13]
  • Zwelethu Mthethwa: Is it our goal…? And Other Related Issues, Circa on Jellicoe, Johannesburg, South Africa[14]
  • Zwelethu Mthethwa, iArt Gallery, Cape Town[15]


  • Zwelethu Mthethwa: New Works, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York[16]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]