Welcome Mandla Koboka was born in Johannesburg in 1941. At age twenty he studied art under Cecil Skotnes and Ephraim Ngatane at the Polly Street Art Centre. He worked in charcoal, inks, watercolours and oils, becoming most recognised for his paintings. The subject matter of his work generally focused on life in the townships, depicting people going about their daily lives in vivid colours with abstraction. Some art critics have categorized his work as ‘township art’ and noted the influences of Ephraim Ngatane. Koboka developed a palette knife technique with his paintings, creating a gritty, weighted surface appearance that reviewers also noted.

Beginning in 1964 Koboka participated in several group exhibitions as well as solo shows. The 1981 ‘Black Art Today Exhibition’, held in Soweto, included his work, as did exhibitions in Austria and the United States. Several private collections as well as public collections hold his pieces, including the University of Fort Hare. In the 1990s Koboka taught art at the Federated Union of Black Artists and in Orlando, Soweto.


De Jager, E.J. Images of Man: Contemporary South African Black Art and Artists(1992) Fort Hare University Press, Alice.|Miles, E. Polly Street: The Story of an Art Centre (2004) Ampersand Foundation, Johannesburg.|Proud, H. Revisions Plus: Expanding the Narrative of South African Art (2008) UNISA Press, Stellenbosch. ‘Welcome Koboka.’ Available online at www.revisions.co.za. [Accessed 21 January 2015.] 

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