Mslaba Zwelidumile Mxgaji Feni
his early South African period until 1968
works exhibited in London in 1975
DUMILE explaining one of his larger drawings at the Durban Art Gallery, 1966 (© A. Moosa Badsha)
Brief comments by Fernand F. Haenggi
The reputation of many great artists, both international and South African, is often based on their early works which impacted on the viewers. This definitely can be said of Mslaba DUMILE-Feni (DUMILE for short as he then called himself) whose early and large works were of everlasting power, causing a furore on the South African art scene.
Unfortunately, when DUMILE left for Europe and the USA, he also left behind him all the input of life that had surrounded him in South Africa - his drawings became stylised, often without much impact, even whimsical or contrived - this is exemplified by comparing the larger drawings of his South African period with the works produced in London and shown at Gallery 21 London in February, 1975.
DUMILE can ONLY be considered great with the best of his drawings from 1965 to 1968.
DUMILE as seen by the SA press
(you may need the free Adobe Reader to view the PDF files!)
As there are so many versions about DUMILE's background - even his exact birthplace and year DUMILE did not know - we have decided to reproduce various articles and interviews held from 1966 to 1968 which we have in our archives - comparative and analytical reading will make this statement clear!
The Star, Johannesburg - 18th January, 1966 - 01
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 19th January, 1966 - 02
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 19th January, 1966 - 2nd article - 02a
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 19th January, 1966 - 3rd article - 02b
Die Transvaler, Johannesburg - (?) January, 1966 - 03
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 22nd January, 1966 - 04
The Star, Johannesburg - 12th May, 1966 - 05
Natal Mercury, Durban - 18th August 1966 - 07
The Sunday Tribune, Durban - 21st August, 1966 - 08
Natal Mercury, Durban - 3rd September, 1966 - 09
The Star, Johannesburg - 29th September, 1966 - 11
De Nieuwe Gids "Weekend", Antwerp (Zuidafrikaanse Kunst - A.G. Samoy) - 15th/16th October, 1966 - 12
Natal Mercury, Durban - 25th October, 1966 - 13
The World, Johannesburg - 28th October, 1966 - 14
The Star, Johannesburg - 4th November, 1966 - 15
ARTLOOK Johannesburg - December, 1966, p.5 - 30
The Star, Johannesburg - 9th June, 1967 - 17
South African Digest, Pretoria - 16th June, 1967 - 18
Die Transvaler, Johannesburg - 17th June, 1967 - 19
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 17th June, 1967 - 20
The Star, Johannesburg - 18th June, 1967 - 21
The Sunday Tribune, Durban, 18th June, 1967 - 22
The Sunday Tribune, Durban, 18th June, 1967 (2nd article) - 22b
Die Vaderland, Johannesburg - 20th June, 1967 - 23
ARTLOOK Johannesburg - April 1967, p. 20, ill.
ARTLOOK Johannesburg - June 1967, p. 7 - 24
The Classic Quarterly, Johannesburg - Vol. 2, No. 4, 1968 - 25
ARTLOOK Johannesburg - June 1968, p. 12 - 26
ARTLOOK, Johannesburg - November, 1972, pp. 28/29 - 28
Bantu, Pretoria - December, 1975 - pp. 16/17 - 29
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - various, undated
Other Important References
Further information available from your library or from our office, on request!
South African Panorama, Pretoria - July 1975, pp. 18/19
Art & Artists of South Africa (Berman) (Balkema), 1983, pp. 118/120
"From South Africa" (Bunn/Taylor) (University of Chicago Press), 1987, pp. 434/441
Images of Man (EJ de Jager) (FHU Press), 1992, pp. 56/65
Painting in South Africa (Berman) (Southern Book Publ.), 1993, p. 259/261
SAUR Allgemeines Künstler Lexikon - Band 30, S. 478 - with refs. to other publications!
Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg - Feature: March 1-7, 2002
Dumile - artist in exile (Bruce Smith) (Art on Paper), 2004
ArtTalk, Johannesburg Vol. 6, Issue 1, 2005 - Dumile Feni issue, ill. (publ. MTN Foundation)
Johannesburg Art Gallery, 1.2.-10.4.2005 - Dumile Feni: A Retrospective Exhibition, Exhibition Resource, ill.
DUMILE in "Isaac Witkin: The South African Mozart of Bronze" by Dr Amitabh Mitra (an extract)
Works exhibited at Gallery 21, London, in February, 1975
► DUMILE BOOK PROJECT 2006 by PRINCE DUBE ◄
If you have additional information or images on DUMILE from his Johannesburg days, please let us know so that we can update this page!
last updated 7th April, 2017
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