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Sam Nhlengethwa was born in 1955 in Springs near Johannesburg.
In 1978 Nhlengethwa received a fine art diploma from Rorke’s Drift Art Centre in Natal. After graduating he taught part-time at the Federative Union of Black Artists (FUBA) in Johannesburg. At first, FUBA was an agency for black artists who wanted to make their work known in South Africa and internationally. Currently, FUBA provides instruction in music, singing, fine arts and theater for more than 3,000 children every month.
Once seen as one of South Africa’s leading resistance artists, Nhlengethwa has grown from this and adjusted the style and content of his works to explore other themes such as music, specifically jazz and the mechanics of everyday living. He works with found printed images from posters and magazines, including his recollections of township life in his imagery.
Nhlengethwa was urban born and raised and therefore relates intimately to township existence, not only in his collages but also in his prints. Nhlengethwa has received various prestigious awards throughout his career and has attended workshops in New York, Senegal and Cuba. He has participated in group exhibitions since the early 1980s in Germany, France, the United States and Botswana.
He has held many solo exhibitions at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, as well as several two-person shows. His work is represented in major public and corporate art collections in South Africa and abroad. In October 2000, he was invited to be artist-in-residence atollege of DuPage, Glen Ellyn Illinois.