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Thamsanqa Mnyele

Thamsanqa Mnyele

Birth date:

December 10, 1948

Death date:

June 14, 1985

Age at Death:



Thamsanqua (Thami) was a South African artist who was born in Johannesburg, Alexandra, South Africa. His dad was a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and his mother was a domestic worker. He was the third oldest of 5 children in total. Later, his father remarried Lemakatso Dorothy Mynele who taught Thami. When he was 8, he was sent from the town where he lived because of the large amounts of crime there to a boarding school. Here he began to draw, and at the age of 14 he was improving his technique. In 1971, he joined the Mhloti Black Theatre and by 1972 he decided visual arts was his direction, and got 1 year of formal art training. He then worked the next seven years as an illustrator.

On June 14, 1985, Thami Mynele was shot dead by soldiers from a South African Defense Force outside his home in Gaborone. He was expected to move to Lusaka the next day to collect large amount of works that were for his portfolio, but these soldiers also took these. Later, one of these soldiers displayed his works on television and were used as evidence of his alleged terrorist activities. But, to this date, we have not seen these works, so we cannot identify whether this accusation was true or not.

Was justice served?

As of today(2/22), justice has not been served. Since these "terrorist works" have not been released to the public, we have no way of knowing if this was true or not. That is not enough evidence to assume he was making terrorist works of art. This man cannot be murdered with little to no explanation or evidence as to why he was shot. It is unfair for these soldiers to get away with this with no further investigation or questioning from anyone at any time.

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