Sabelo Mlangeni was born in Driefontein near Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga. In 2001 he moved to Johannesburg where he joined the Market Photo Workshop, graduating in 2004. Recipient of the POPCAP’16 prize for Contemporary African Photography and the Tollman Award for the Visual Arts in 2009. Recent solo projects include Umlindelo WaMakholwa at Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Cambridge (2017), Heartbreaker at artSPACE in Auckland, New Zealand (2016). Recent group exhibitions include: Recent Histories – New African Photography and video art at Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany, 2017 Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life at Museum Africa, Johannesburg (2015); Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive at the Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany (2013-2014).
“I have been moving around Johannesburg and its closest suburbs as someone interested in story-telling about everyday life. I am concerned by the migration flow within the urban areas, especially in the context of the South African social landscape, heavily burdened by legislation then, and now by economic constraints.
In my early walks I found myself in many spaces where the situation and the living conditions were impossible to look at and to photograph: then I started wondering, what to frame? Soon another side of the hardships emerged, and I attempted to capture that hidden beauty, that ordinary peace”.