Back to artists


Khaya Witbooi (b. 1977), grew up in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. After matriculating in 1995 he did a college course in draughtmanship and started working as an illustrator for an architectural firm while doing freelance work for The Argus newspaper in Cape Town (court sketches, cartoons etc.). He also specialised in the painting of portraits.

In June 2010 he was selected to join the Good Hope Artist’s Studio programme where he was given a studio and the opportunity to paint full-time. In December 2011 he was awarded an artist’s residency at the more prestigious Greatmore Studios in Woodstock, Cape Town.

Witbooi uses a combination of stenciling and oil painting to express his observations, usually of socio-political nature. The result is edgy and urban with an African relevance. Topics like the seeming failure of democracy to provide solutions to problems related to post-colonial and post-apartheid South Africa, human behaviour in this context and the effects of globalisation are dealt with regularly. It provides valuable insight into a world the viewer seldom had the opportunity to experience first-hand.

“I’ve taken it upon myself to make a statement of a concerned citizen. I’m not expecting people from around the world to do it before I do. If there’s any person to make the first comment, it is the person who feels it immediately, and I’m that person.” – Khaya Witbooi


  • 2013  SPI National Portrait Award, Top 40 finalist


  • 2017 History Begins With a Garden, Gallery MOMO, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2015  Origi-nil, Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2014  My people, let Pharao go, Worldart Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2013  New dog, old tricks, Worldart Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa


  • 2014  Paint Matters, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town
  • 2013  YOUNG VISIONS IN MOTION,curated by Kent Lingeveldt, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2013  In the Shadow of the Rainbow, Johannesburg Art Fair, Johannesburg
  • 2012  Our fathers, The AVA Gallery, Cape Town South Africa




Worldart Conversations:ORL: Khaya Witbooi

Nosana Sondiyazi in conversation with Charl Bezuidenhout

Published Articles

Khayalethu Witbooi drew his own plans to escape poverty.

Khaya Witbooi Sunday Times Lifestyle 26 March 2017 Read More

The revolution of it all

Khaya Witbooi Art Africa September 2015 Read More

Pop Smart

Khaya Witbooi Sunday Times Lifestyle Magazine 13 July 2014 Read More

My people, let pharaoh go

Khaya Witbooi Art South Africa June 2014 Read More

Portraits of artists as young activists

Khaya Witbooi Business Day 6 June 2013 Read More

Personal stories in colour

Khaya Witbooi Weekend Argus 16 March 2013 Read More

Guns are Roses

Khaya Witbooi Amandla! December 2012 Read More

Artful move to turn a squat into exhibition space

Khaya Witbooi The Sunday Times 4 November 2012 Read More