The Artist

Throughout his life, Ceaser has been like a magnet who has attracted to him both people and institutions who realised that he had something special and wanted to help him develop his talent. He acknowledges all of them with gratitude.


His father was ‘well educated’ but Ceaser says his career as an artist started with his mother.  ‘Although my mother didn’t go to school, she was creative with her hands. My mother taught me everything. Crocheting, sewing. At the time I used to make cars with wire, trying to make special cars. But I wanted to experience some other things.’


Ceaser’s break as an artist came in 1994, when he was accepted into a holistic art programme, the Velobala Art Project, funded by the African Art Centre and hosted at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).  The programme included training in pottery; sculpture; printing; drawing; painting in oil, water colours and acrylic; and even welding. He participated in this programme for three years.


Ceaser says that it was at the Velobala Art Project that he first realised that you could ‘commercialise’ art. Before that, he had not realised that art was something out of which you could make a living.


Ceaser was also constantly eager to grasp opportunities to improve himself. In addition to his art training, he also participated in the Ukusa Project, a music and dance programme hosted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and went on other personal development and leadership courses. All of these contributed to making him the inspired artist and fascinating human being that he is.


He still loves music. ‘When people were moved out of Cato Manor (in the south of Durban) during apartheid, many songs were sung there and they lived on in the new areas into which people were moved. I’m playing the songs that were played during that time. I grew up with the music that was being played and sung in Cato Manor, and am still playing those songs.’

Copyright Ceaser Mkhize 2018

Photographs – Africa!Ignite, Sue Greenberg

Story - Wilna Botha