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“Tell your story, the World is listening”- said Hlengiwe Nkuna
Hlengiwe Nkuna: Fine Arts Alumnus and the MOL group singer

“Tell your story, the World is listening”- said Hlengiwe Nkuna

Recently had a look at one of our alumni’s artwork. Her name is Hlengiwe Nkuna: Fine Arts Alumnus and the MOL group singer, she hails from Mpumalanga in a small village called Metsi. She went to Madlala High School and joined the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in 2015. Ms. Nkuna graduated with her first qualification (degree) in Fine Arts in 2019, then graduated with her second qualification Post-Graduate Diploma in Higher Education (PGDHE) in 2020.

Ms. Nkuna’s artworks are about the emotions of fear of rejection that causes frustration within the young adult women in the tertiary institution, as her case study she used VUT.  She said: “As a young adult female who was studying at VUT at the time, I was experiencing challenges that other young adult females were facing due to a variety of problems concerning where we come from and being in an environment that’s all-new with diverse people in it.”

“There is so much that goes on unnoticed when young adult females are exposed to social demands such as fitting in within tertiary institution. This often causes pressure and may result in anxiety, depression, etc but in most cases, these challenges are suppressed and masked for the sake of carrying on. I saw the need to communicate such issues through my art just so many can have a way of telling their stories, raising awareness about these issues and also let those who are going through the same find solace in their stories through my artworks,” said Ms. Nkuna

When asked how studying at VUT was for her, she said: “Studying at VUT was good, it was a beautiful experience and an opportunity for me as an artist as I got to learn so much and improve my skills. I was also part of the VUT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and sexual or allies (LGBTIAQ) which was at first a program under IHAU but later became an organization on its own. I also became a member of a music group called Music Out Loud (MOL) Extension that started in 2015 to date. Though the group is not a VUT group, I met my fellow vocalist in VUT, where she was doing the same course as myself but a year ahead at that time. VUT became aware of our group and they supported us by booking us for performance on many occasions where there were workshops, events, and gala dinners. They also sponsored our trip to Eastern Cape for the National Arts Festival back in 2015.’’

Concept: The hidden emotions of fear of rejection and frustration within young adult women in VUT. Medium: water colours and black Othello on white and grey Fabriano papers. Size: A5 (per artwork). 

Miss Nkuna’s plans are to one day have an art space where artists are not limited by age but are going to come and express themselves and exercise their talents and skills. She plans on continuing to create more artworks that will communicate to the people at large about social issues we encounter daily as a community and individuals.

To the students who are studying Fine Art, she advised: “Do not lose focus as an aspiring artist. Find your language and nurture it. An artist is forever a student/learner, we grow as we create one piece at a time. Every art piece and idea matters. Tell your story the world is listening”.

Ms. Nkuna is currently not working and is searching for employment.

Article by: Qhawekazi Memani

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