Xhanti Mpakama grew up in rural South Africa in the Transkei. He soon showed a natural artistic talent being keen on sculpturing from an early age.
Much of his inspiration comes from the environment of his youth. This was influenced by the annual migration of men to the gold mines which often caused great hardship to the women and children left at home.
With names like Smoking Grandmother, Mother and Child, African Man and Shepherd Boy , Xhanti’s memories and imaginative ideas are brought to life in sculptures that are both beautiful and sensitive to his heritage.
Xhanti began sculpting as a young boy, making figurines from clay. Today, he is mentored by Warren Knight of Sculpture Casting Services. Xhanti designs his work in clay or wax, which is then cast in bronze. His art is available from selected outlets, and he exhibits regularly. One of his first sculptures - an old man bearing a load of worries on his shoulders - is displayed in the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum.
Xhanti now lives and works in Asanda Village, Nomzamo - a township in the Helderberg Basin, near Cape Town. He has had the honour of being commissioned to produce a number of sculpturesf or the National Heritage Trust.
The first commisioned sculture is of King Shaka. King Shaka (1787 – 1828) was one of the most influential monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom. South African culture is still greatly influenced by his reign.
The second life sized sculpture to be commissioned by the National Heritage Trust is of King Faku. King Faku (1815 - 1867) was the last ruling monarch of the Mpondo kingdom in Southern Africa. During his reign he consolidated and unified several Xhosa groups and expanded the territory he had inherited from his father.
Xhanti has also had the opportunity to collaborate with another bronxze scultor, Barry Jackson. Together they were commissioned by the National Heritage Trust to create a three times life size bust of Nelson Mandela for the South African Government. It can be viewed outside the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town.
NELSON MANDELA BUST
(3 times life size)