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

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.

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. Nxumalo is 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. Nxumalo recently exhibited 16 Shots, a selection from The Anthology of Youth at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg.


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. His work has also been included in a number of group exhibitions both locally and internationally. These 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 from 2015 to 2017, including in Lagos, Abidjan, Bamako, Nairobi, Kinshasa and Yaounde. 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.

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 in Next Generation at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College in New York. In the same year, SMAC Gallery presented Nxumalo’s In Search Of… , his first solo exhibition with the gallery, in Stellenbosch. Nxumalo’s second solo exhibition at SMAC Gallery titled 16 Shots which features a selection of works from The Anthology of Youth, recently opened in Johannesburg.

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


Musa N. Nxumalo’s work is featured in the exhibition Être là, South Africa, a contemporary art scene in Art/Afrique at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, France  (26 April – 28 August 2017).