Street artist draws inspiration from his disability

Zithulele Dlamini can often be spotted on the streets of Durban creating beautiful pieces of artwork.

Drawing inspiration from his disability is Zithulele Dlamini, who, despite having no hands, ekes out a living on the streets of Durban by sketching and creating beautiful and intricate artwork which he sells to passers-by.

The inspirational man has defied the odds and proven that his ability is stronger than his disability. In an interview with the Rising Sun, the 42-year-old artist, who always has a smile on his face, shared his story of adversity and challenges.

Formerly from Ingwavuma in the Umkhanyakude District Municipality of the KwaZulu-Natal province, Dlamini said that his hands were amputated at a very young age after they started swelling.

“I was very young at the time and cannot remember the kind of illness I suffered from. All I know is that I had to learn how to adapt to the demands of everyday life using on my arms. You could basically say that I was born without hands because I never had the chance to use them. There were many challenges, but I chose to never give up. I knew that disability did not mean inability and I was determined to prove myself,” he said.

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According to the artist, he fell in love with art at the tender age of five and has taught himself to draw, holding a typical pencil with the ends of his arms pressed against it. “I had to figure out how to draw and paint despite my disability because this is my only means of survival,” explained Dlamini.

He moved to Durban in the early 1990s after his grandmother passed away while he was in grade 11. Due to having no one left to take care of him and his older sister, he had no option but to drop out of school.

Since he moved to the sunny and warm city of Durban, he has been surviving with the little money that he gets from his drawings.

Dlamini believes that he should be receiving a pension, however, claimed that the Department of Home Affairs informed him that fingerprints needed to be done and he therefore needed to bring a family member along with him since he does not have hands.

“The only family I have is my sister and I have not seen her since she left home shortly after the death of our grandmother. Nevertheless, I am happy that people love my drawings and are happily willing to pay for it so I can afford rent and food. I do not want to live on the streets and beg,” he told journalists. Dlamini sells his art for only R150 and is thankful to everyone who has supported him thus far.



Noxolo Mkhwanazi

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