Mbongeni Buthelezi was born in 1956 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has made a name for himself in contemporary art, through his use of waste plastic. Buthelezi “paintings” are made of waste plastic, which he cut’s it into little pieces and melts, with a heat gun, onto a plastic canvas. Buthelezi’s work alludes structural difference, creating surfaces and structures with subtle and changing tones and colours. The use of such material shows Buthelezi’s awareness of environmental problems and the physical decay of the townships as well as the references to general social and political impoverishment and flaw of opportunities and alternatives that he observes in South Africa.
Buthelezi attended courses at the African Institute of Art in Johannesburg from 1986 until 1992 and later also at the University of Witwatersrand from 1997 until 1998. Buthelezi’s work to mediates and communicates hope. He is convinced that by telling his story and depicting his history through his artwork, he can change the path of the younger artists who will follow him.