Durban artist Lungelo Gumede is having an impact on African sculpture felt far beyond our shores with his life-size wax art works.

Durbanite Lungelo Gumede is carving a name for himself as the only artist in South Africa who creates wax figures.

Lungelo Gumede has long had an ability to draw but thanks to fellow artist Mandla Gasa he was introduced to the BAT Centre and came to see that it was an interest he wanted to pursue. 

It was the start of his official journey into drawing and painting and eventually led to him being sponsored to study fine art at DUT where he learnt about sculpture and clay. He excelled in this area and won the vice-chancellor’s excellence award which presented an opportunity to exhibit his work in the Big Apple in 2004. That is how he found himself at Madame Tussauds and mesmerised by the figures at the famous wax museum.

Fast forward a few years and his work is now owned by world famous entertainers, athletes and has earned him an honorary doctorate in arts and wax sculpting. 

He is the only artist in South Africa who puts his skills to work in bringing to life, full colour figures like Lilian Ngoyi who led the 1956 Women’s March against the pass laws, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. 

Many of which we look forward to seeing in South Africa’s first life-size wax museum very soon.


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