Bringing Photography back to its roots while honouring a legend

Qhawekazi Memani – 02 November 2021

Print Making Lecturer, Independent Art Curator and Archivist: Nkululeko Khumalo and her father: Khithika Leonard Khumalo

Born in the Vaal and studied in the Vaal: “The rich history of the Vaal Triangle has made me the person I am currently. I am still reaping the fruits of being born in the Vaal and its rich history and dependents. Earlier in life I was working in Johannesburg, I realised that we are always rushing to Johannesburg for opportunities and leave behind a land of honey and milk, the Vaal. The Vaal has so many opportunities.”

Nkululeko Khumalo holds a master’s degree in Fine Art on Biographical and Curatorial practice. She currently works as a Print Making Lecturer, Independent Art Curator and Archivist.

Having studied at various institutions of higher learning. Nkululeko studied Business Management at the Vanderbijlpark College and Technikon SA simultaneously.  Again “I registered and studies at different institutions at the same time, namely:  Fine Art at the Vaal University, Project Management at the University of Johannesburg and International Curatorial Intensive course. I am currently in the final stages of completing a Post-graduation supervision course at Rhodes in partnership with VUT “.

Nkululeko has exhibited locally and internationally.  She has won the best curated stands in the most prestigious Art fair in the world, namely: Art Basil Miami, the curated stand in Santa Fe, Miami, and New York. “I represented SA is one of the most prestigious honour a person can ever receive,” she says.


Bra Len Khumalo talking about his work











Writing and preserving our history with exhibitions and writing articles has been a life experience for her that she claims she tapped into by default. “Collaborating with various institutions to capture the history of Evaton and Wilberforce has made me appreciate my own historical background.”

Nkululeko is currently working on – Leonard Khumalo Kasi Tour where her father is honoured: Baba Khithika Leonard Khumalo, who is a retired seasoned photojournalist. Many people know Khumalo as Bra Len. The main purposes of the tour are to revisit the history on Archival photographs and taking the same photographs to the people who are in those photographs.So many people come to Bra Len looking for their long-lost family photographs or of their loved ones who are no longer around so that they try to recall and recollect memories. As I research who my father is through other people’s eyes. I realised that I am living with a legend under the same roof. How this man was shot so many times, stabbed, tortured and burned with boiling water and yet continues to tell his story.”

The exhibition is titled: ‘Burning of the Newspaper’. It aims to observe the 19th October 1977, clampdown of the Black Newspapers, Journalists and Photojournalists.  Amongst the prominent ones, were The World and the Weekend World newspapers, the editors Percy Qoboza, Aggrey Klaaste, the photographer Moffatt Zungu and the photojournalist Zuluboy Molefe who were detained during the clampdown.

In the exhibition Bra Len also talks about his lived experience of being a journalist during the apartheid years and why this day 19th October 1977 is important and crucial to capture. “It was not easy during our time because of the apartheid regime and we were not allowed to take certain photo’s,” shares bra Len.

This exhibition is in collaboration with Nkululeko Khumalo a daughter to Bra Len Khumbulo, legend Babu Gamakhulu Diniso the actor and visual artist, Zecharia Nale from Vaal Ster, Nyaniso Diniso musician, Thembisile Hlalukane poet, Papi Lethoba actor, Malloney Du Plessis and our own VUT students in the Fine Art and colleague, Collen Matimele.

In essence, the exhibition is about the burning and banning of the Newspapers and its relevance in the current situation. Bra Len Khumalo as a photojournalist is in the league with the prominent photographers such as his older brother the late Alf Khumalo, Peter Magubane, Mike Mzileni and Sam Nzima. “Len Khumalo has sacrificed a lot for us as his children, his immediate family, extended family, his community, his colleagues in the field and the country at large,” says Nkuly.

The exhibition is an open invitation to all the people who are aspiring to be photographers, journalists, authors of books, theatre script writers, musicians, and visual artists to come and be part of this creative experience.

This project has exposed students to so many ways and opportunities in the arts and how to also look at what they do as part of Art Management and Product Development. How they learn in class becomes practical.

The exhibition commenced on 19 October and will run until 30 November at Diniso Art Complex in Bedworthpark.