b. 1986, Soweto
Lives and works in Soweto, South Africa


Musa Nxumalo was born in Soweto, South Africa in 1986 – where he currently lives and works.

Soweto-based Musa N. Nxumalo is a black contemporary photographer whose work explores youth culture, identity and the journey to self-discovery. Born in 1986 in Soweto, Nxumalo received his introduction to photography at the Market Photo Workshop with Sabelo Mlangeni and the late Thabiso Sekgala, who together are often associated with the new generation of contemporary South African photographers.

Musa Nxumalo completed the Foundation and Intermediate Courses at Market Photo Workshop between 2006 and 2008, and has since participated in several workshops and master classes. Since 2009, Nxumalo has had three solo exhibitions.

Most recently, Nxumalo’s is currently up on exhibition as part of Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today at Adam – Brussels Design Museum in Brussels, Belgium. Nxumalo is also currently working on an ongoing project, titled The Anthology of Youth (2016), which was shown in part at SMAC Gallery’s Contemporary Booth at the FNB Joburg Art Fair 2016 and in UPSTART/STARTUP at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg. In 2018, exhibited 16 Shots, a selection from The Anthology of Youth at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg.

In the period between 2008 and 2016, Nxumalo produced two bodies of work for which he has received critical recognition – Alternative Kidz (2009) and In/Glorious (2012), which later formed part of his 2015 solo exhibition, In Search Of… at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch and the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg. In 2013, Nxumalo exhibited in Urban Scenographies as part of the By Night Festival in Saint-Denis, Reunion, where he was a resident artist. In 2015, he was nominated for the prestigious First Book Award and his work was included in Next Generation at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College in New York. In the same year, SMAC Gallery presented In Search Of… . In 2017, Nxumalo’s work was included in Être là (Being there): South Africa, a contemporary art scene, as part of the group exhibition, Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, France. Nxumalo was also selected to take part in the 11th edition of Rencontres de Bamako, entitled Afrotopia and curated by Marie-Ann Yemsi, in Bamako, Mali (02 December 2017 – 31 January 2018).

His work has also been included in a number of group exhibitions both locally and internationally, which include: For Those Who Live In It in the Netherlands in 2010; Space Between Us in Germany in 2013; My Joburg at Maison Rouge Gallery in Paris in 2013 and Perigrinate, which has been shown across the African continent in 2015 and 2016, including in Lagos, Abidjan, Bamako and Nairobi. He is the recipient of several awards – the Edward Ruiz Mentorship in 2008, 2nd Prize for the MTN CITY Festival in 2009 and 1st prize in Visual Art for the Impact Awards in 2010.

Nxumalo’s work forms part of several private and public collections, most notably the Pigozzi Collection in Switzerland.


16 Shots | SMAC Gallery | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2017

In Search Of… | SMAC Gallery | Stellenbosch, South Africa | 2015

Musa Nxumalo | Afronova Gallery | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2011

Alternative-Kidz | National School Of Arts (NSA) |Market Photo Workshop | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2010

Alternative-Kidz | Market Photo Workshop | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2009


Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today | Adam – Brussels Design Museum | Brussels, Belgium | 2019

FNB Joburg Art Fair (Bad Paper) | Sandton Convention Centre | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2018

Platform Africa, Apeture Summer Issue Launch | 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair | New York City, USA | 2017

Être là, South Africa, a contemporary art scene, Art/Afrique, le novel atelier  | Louis Vuitton Foundation | Paris, France | 2017

Perigrinate | The Goethe Institut | Yaounde, Cameroon | Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo | 2017

On Fire: Notions of Community in Post-Apartheid South Africa | Grimmuseum | Berlin, Germany | 2016

Peregrinate | Goethe-Institut | Cote D’Ivoire | 2016

Next Generation: Emerging Photographers from South Africa | Queens College | New York City, USA |2016

Close to Home: New Photography from Africa | The Walther Collection – Project Space | New York City, USA | 2016

Perigrinate | The Goethe Institut | Nairobi, Kenya | Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) | Lagos, Nigeria | 2016

FNB Joburg Art Fair (SMAC Gallery) | Sandton Convention Centre | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2016

Upstart/Startup | SMAC Gallery | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2016 

Cape Town Art Fair | Cape Town Convention Centre | Cape Town, South Africa | 2015


Tymon Smith | Sunday Times | Photographer documents SA’s youth carving out their own anti-born-free identities | 18 April 2017 – PDF

Omar Nasir | Dazed Digital | The photos celebrating urban youth culture in Johannesburg | 27 January 2016 – PDF

New York Times | Forging their own scene | 26 April 2015 – PDF

Catherine Rudolph | Between 10 and 5 | Featured: Photographer Musa Nxumalo In Search Of… | 24 March 2015 – PDF

Ivor Powell | Weekend Argus | Something is stirring in Africa’s art world | 15 February 2015 – PDF