Orphaned artist’s #WinnieMandela portrait wins R30k in drawing competition

Ennock Mlangeni’s winning entry.

Cape Town – Ennock Mlangeni from the Free State will take home the R30 000 first prize as winner of the 2018 BIC Art Master talent search.  

More than 700 entries were submitted from across South Africa. More than 62 500 votes were cast.

Entries were loaded online, with the public voting for their favourites. The final three winners were selected by a panel. 

“2018 is my year! Words fail me in expressing my excitement at winning,” said full-time artist Mlangeni, 27. 

“I submitted two entries last year but was not successful. It proves the importance of perseverance and believing in yourself. The prize money is extremely useful, but what is equally exciting is what this will do for my career. It will open doors for me and give me the profile that I need to take me to the next level. I have relied solely on social media to promote myself up until now and this will help me in building my corporate clientele. It is what I prayed for.”

His passion for art started at a young age. He was orphaned by the age of six and was brought up by his grandmother in Zamdela township, Sasolburg, along with his brother and 10 cousins.

Ennock Mlangeni’s winning entry.

While at primary school, Mlangeni would watch Dragon Ball Z, a Japanese animation series, and would draw all the characters. At the time his grandmother would tell him to stop drawing and focus on his school work, but as he got older she realised that he had a genuine talent and encouraged his art. 

Mlangeni won first prize in art competitions in Grades 10, 11, and 12, using his prize money to buy school items for his entire family. 

“Money was scarce when I was growing up,” he said. “But I had a great childhood and loved all the kids in the house. Yes, there were tough times, but there were many special moments and we were all very close. I am still living with my grandmother, along with three of the others. The rest have gone their separate ways, but they all still live in the Sasolburg area and we are in constant communication and meet up often.”

His grandmother wanted him to go to university after school to study art but there was no funding for that. “I am self-taught, but I am still hoping to go to the Vaal University of Technology and study next year.”

Mlangeni began growing his art business on social media.

“My first commissions were portraits of individuals and I am in the process of expanding to include corporate clients as well,” he said. Two of his clients have agreed to sponsor a studio for him where he will teach art to the local children in the community. 

“There is a lot of drugs and poverty and I want to make a difference and unearth talent,” he said.

Other winners:Second prize – A Nikon Camera bundle worth R8 000 (won by Willie Delport from North West)Third prize – A BIC® Artistry Kit valued at R3 000 (won by Sugasha Govender from Gauteng)The other 17 finalists each received a cash prize of R2 000

All entries can be viewed here.

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Cape Argus