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Legendary artists Lizo Pemba and Dolla Sapeta have teamed up to share the craft of their art as part of the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) capacity building workshop series.

SACO is a project of the South African Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, hosted by the Nelson Mandela University in partnership with Rhodes, KwaZulu-Natal and Fort Hare Universities.

New Brighton is a cauldron of creativity and resistance that continues to incubate artists and academics alike. Creative stalwarts, Lizo Pemba and Mxolisi Dolla Sapeta are case in point.

This week the duo – among the most respected artists from the famous Port Elizabeth township – join forces to reflect on their creative and artistic journey and their approach to practice.

They will run a masterclass on behalf of the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO), in partnership with the Mandela Bay Development Agency, to share a lifetime of experience in the creative field.

Both artists have continued to live and create in Gqeberha despite their relative national and global success and notoriety.

“Place matters,” says Sapeta. “I am constantly inspired by the faces of the people from my community. They are my art and connection. They make me the artist I am.”

New Brighton is an historic and deeply cultural township, home to legends such as George Pemba, Vusi Pikoli and Raymond Mhlaba, John Kani, Winston Ntshona, and Barney Pityana.

Both Sapeta and Pemba were born there, though in different eras. Sapeta, a full-time painter, sculptor, poet, and art teacher, trained both informally (under George Pemba) and formally at Nelson Mandela University.

His work has been widely exhibited in South Africa and overseas and in 2019, his first collection of poetry, titled “Skeptical Erections” was published. Sapeta taught art for six years at Port Elizabeth College, and now runs art classes in local schools and occasionally lectures, while producing prolifically from his township studio.

Lizo’s water colour skills were nurtured by his father, Titus Keke Pemba, who in turn was greatly influenced by his grandfather, the late George Pemba, one of South Africa’s most lauded painters. Over his long career, Lizo worked as an illustrator, graphic artist and cartoonist for newspapers like Umsebenzi (isiXhosa for Work) and Phakama, a religious publication.

The masterclass “approaches to making art” will deep dive into what it is like to live and works as an artist, especially a township artist. The two will share insights into creative process and practice and practical tips on becoming a better artist.

The class takes place on Thursday 23 February at the Mendi Arts Centre in New Brighton, at 9:30am to lunchtime.  

The event forms part of the SACO’s capacity building workshop series, which is being rolled out nationally until the end of March 2023, across different topics and provinces.

“The SACO is on a mission to not only share our research, and the impact of it, but also to spotlight certain skills and experiences, especially those of black creatives, which add to the richness and tapestry of our cultural and creative industries, but are underrepresented,” said Unathi Lutshaba, SACO executive director, inviting all to join the event in person or online.

Join Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 794 4428 3273 Passcode: F0PRWH

Participants can also join virtually:

For more information contact the SACO marketing team:

Amy Shelver: / 0718804831

Titus Chuene:

Lutholwethu Mxosansa: or 076 499 3914


About the South African Cultural Observatory

SACO was established in 2015 to develop a more sophisticated understanding of South Africa’s cultural economy – and also map trends, develop statistics, gather economic data in arts, culture and heritage and the CCIs, and inform policymakers. Since then it has been fundamental in shaping new knowledge, tools, and insights into South Africa’s cultural and creative economy. SACO is a project of the South African Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, hosted by the Nelson Mandela University in partnership with Rhodes, KwaZulu-Natal and Fort Hare Universities.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160