Zwelidumile Jeremiah Mgxaji better known as Dumile Feni, was born 21 May 1942 Worcester, Cape Western Cape. In the early 1950’s he moved to Johannesburg, where he became an apprentice at the Block and Leo Wald Sculpture, Pottery and Plastics foundry in Jeppe. It would not be long until he was under the guidance of Cecil Skotnes (Polly Street Art Centre). It was during this time that he developed his incredibly unique eye and drawing techniques. Feni also worked and spent a lot of time with Bill Ainslie, a friendship that spanned over twenty years.

In 1968 Dumile went into exile in London where he lived for many years. While outside of the country, Feni had many opportunities to travel as the result of his work and his life as a testimony to protest. He was able to see Nigeria, England, China and the U.S.A. His social interactions there broadened his perceptions of international oppression.