Instagram Heroes: 5 South African Illustrators Making Waves

South Africa suffers no shortage when it comes to incredible illustrators, making it challenge (of the best sort) to choose only five to share with you in this week’s Instagram Heroes round-up. These multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted creatives have got visual storytelling down to a fine art, using their work to explore their curiosities, share personal experiences, experiment with style, raise awareness, and much more. With that, meet a few of the talented local illustrators well worth following on the Gram.

Karabo Poppy Moletsane

Illustrator and street artist Karabo Poppy Moletsane needs no introduction. From putting her work on the Soweto Towers to her most recent all-star collaboration – this time with Trevor Noah and The Grammy Awards – Moletsane’s incredible trajectory shows no signs of slowing down. The Vereeniging-born creative studied visual communication at Pretoria’s Open Window Institute where her characterful, distinctly South African style first began to take shape – beautifully honed over subsequent years into an aesthetic all her own. Follow @karabo_poppy on Instagram.

Terence ‘Tako’ Maluleke

Soweto-born Terence Maluleke is a character designer, visual developer and artist exploring modern African identities. Having graduated from Johannesburg’s Animation School a few years back, he’s already worked with Warner Bros, Netflix and Sony to name just a few. “What I draw is part of who I am, it’s my experience growing up as an African. Let me clarify: Africa doesn’t inspire me in a sense that I have do intense research on African mythology and the history, it’s already inside me and makes me who I am,” he told us. Follow @tako_universe on Instagram.

Anja Venter

A self-described “Artstronaut”, Anja Venter is an artist and researcher whose latest exhibition is currently showing at Artist Admin. “I am fascinated by the intersection of art, culture and technology and have forged a creative career that blends these domains,” she says in her bio. While there is much that is impressive about Venter’s work and practice, such as the fact that she’s working on her first novel, her illustrations take the cake when it comes to sheer delight. Appearing on t-shirts, pendants, book covers and more, her illustration chops are perhaps most sought after in the form of her custom portraits in which you, and your loved ones, are rendered in Venter’s signature, offbeat style. Follow @nannaventer on Instagram.

Seth Pimentel

Johannesburg-born Seth Pimentel, also known as African Ginger, is an experimental illustrator and visual artist, often merging traditional mediums such as painting with digital components in his unique hybrid style. His works explore and reflect his own experience with mental health, aiming to create a “visual bridge” of understanding around the aspects of human existence that can’t be put into words. Pimentel’s bold and layered aesthetic has captured the attention of global brands such as Netflix, Converse and Adobe, while the raw relatability of his subject matter strikes a chord with his growing fanbase. Follow @african_ginger on Instagram.

Rendani Nemakhavhani

The vibrant work of Rendani Nemakhavhani explores the intersections between traditional African cultures and ever-evolving contemporary life. Nemakhavhani’s expansive output includes graphic design, digital art and creative direction – continually inspired by and paying homage to the city of Johannesburg, where she was born and raised. Through her illustrated portraits, Nemakhavhani seeks to look beyond external appearances to reveal the true nature or essence of a person. Follow @prsdnthoney on Instagram.

Are you an Instagram Hero?

If you’re a creator or business owner in Sub-Saharan Africa using IG to grow your practice or build your brand, you qualify to enter our monthly Instagram Heroes awards series. The Creator category includes art, design and craft, as well as creatives and makers across all fields. The Business category is for local entrepreneurs, agencies, start-ups and well-established enterprises. Submit your work using the form below.

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