A profile of Ziyanda Majozi by Kopano Sibeko
“This is gonna sound weird, conversations to self, but the universe holds us and I’m sure it doesn’t miss anything oh, well the big man up there knows everything too. This is for those who care to listen, some may mistake my approach to things as being aggressive or angry, but reality is I’m more emotional than angry” said Ziyanda Majozi, scripted on the wall of room 12, Bag Factory Studios, Johannesburg. Where she is currently on a mentorship programme, mentored by David Koloane, Pat Mautloa and Nicola Tylor.
Ziyanda is a very ambitious young woman, mosaicist, artist and activist who would like to make change through Art.
“I create art that speaks to me and changes how people see things and what they think they know” she shares on her Facebook page titled Ziyanda Majozi.
Wearing a red and blue stripped t-shirt with gold shining studs that compliment her coffee coloured skin. Majozi innately smiles at me, while she wipes her hands on the black dirty apron she had on. As she raised her hand provocatively with the intention to shake mine. I noticed that her hands marked with black stains covered with paint, and a mixture of glue and paper.
Being received by such an optimistic artist, I took a thorough observation around the room she occupied. The room was small with a white paint on the wall, filled with cardboards, wood, papers, paints and drawing boards.
In my acute perusal of the room I notice a big painting of a portrait of the visual activist Zanele Muholi hung on the wall.
According to Majozi the painting was made with clothing material, newspapers and bandages to form a collage that signifies what the LGBTI community is going through as described it.
The 28 year old, hails from Eastern Cape, Nqamakwe but she tells me that she spent most of her upbringing in Cape Town. It is where she studied two years of Graphic Design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) however she did not finish her studies due to financial hitches, but her determination to succeed meant that she had to work extra hard to find herself a place in the art world so she can make a name for herself.
She says “in 2010, I joined Spier Arts Academy, a mosaic school based in Cape Town that offers a mosaic course. I am currently doing my last year, training as a professional mosaic artist and also doing commissioned work on special request”.
Ziyanda is a self-taught artist who discovered the love of drawing and painting at a very young age but didn’t get to explore more of her talent at the time “if I can recall I think I was 8 years old, I remember my uncle who use to draw and I use to look at him enjoying it and I loved it, so I guess it grew in me” she said.
She says that for as long as she can evoke her childhood memories parents have always been so supportive of her artistic character. It was only unfortunate that they didn’t have resources to take her to schools that offered art as part of the curriculum, because she attended school in a very rural area.
“My father at some point, the woman he worked for was an artist for some reason, so he always said that once you grow up I will take you and introduce you to her” she said.
She says that a recollection of her memories of her parents will never leave her mind because if they were not as supportive of her as they were than she wouldn’t be where she is today.
Ziyanda is inspired by a number of people that she met along her journey, The likes of Marlise Keith, teacher at Spier Academy; Edwin Simon, former coordinator for the foundation at CPUT and Zanele Muholi, photographer/visual activist.”
These are the people that constantly help me reconnect and rediscover my talent and passion in life, either than the experience through multiple art workshops and trainings that I took” she giggles.
She slowly browses around the room and she tells me that she remembers a period in her life where her sisters and some friends who told her that art doesn’t pay and that she should find something else to study. “Somehow because of my ignorance, I listened to them and then I studied graphic designing and thank God I couldn’t finish it, because somehow I started regretting not studying art” She said.
A close mentor Pat Mautloa expressed “What I’ve realised from her work is, it’s sophisticated, because of its simplicity, because its things that are relative”. He further describes Ziyanda’s work as a form of art that comes with a personality in the apparel and that her work always commands attention.
“How about the world stops…not end stop!
Would we still be divided?
Stop the world, bring the sky closer,
emerge the land,
dry the oceans and bring the sun even more closely.
Stop the world,
stop this is hurting me…
oh no you are hurting me…
Do you see what you have done?
These bruises are going to take a while to heal but the scars are engraved for life.
Oh shit nobody is listening…because…I’m dead.”
My attention couldn’t seem to divert from the words that she scripted on the wall, they seemed to hold so much depth and I was curious to know, so I interrogated her. She smiled gently and she told me that because she’s been actively doing mosaics of hate crime victims that’s what inspired her to write that piece.
She said that she can relate to these brutal murders directly because they affect her as she is also a lesbian woman.
She also said that she also fell victim to hate crime speech from a guy next door to her house and they also exchange fist fights,” that’s why these pictures mean so much to me because it could’ve been me” she uttered.
I then asked her how her family reacts to her sexuality. She tells me that she never came out to her family as she has always been tomboyish growing up. Her guess is that they will figure it out themselves, “though one of my sisters has been a bit of a homophobe towards me, because every time I went out and came back to the house she would insist I wash my hands. She seriously had a fetish with hands and it only hit me after a while why she insisted on making sure my hands are clean before touching anything” she saying with a burst of laughter.
She says that she would like to encourage the youth especially other artists to ‘take the good and run’ she says if they aspire to be in the mainstream art world. They need to always listen to people and take what they say and use them to improve themselves. She further says not everyone will be positive or understand your work, but take the criticism and make it constructive for you.
The honour of spending time with such a motivated young being made me realize that there’s a thin line between chasing money and following a dream.
When a passion for something resides in you, you can do anything but, run away from it.
Previous on Ziyanda
2013 Aug. 16: A Mosaicist (Artist) is born
NB: Ziyanda’s artworks will be exhibited at the
Next FNB Joburg Art Fair
27 – 29 September 2013
Sandton Convention Centre