Exploring the Lucrative World of African Art: Top Artists Selling Works for Millions

Cinga Samson’s Hliso Street V is expected to fetch between R2,000,000 and R3,000,000 at Strauss & Co’s upcoming Africa’s Curatorial Voices: African Landscapes, Past and Present live virtual auction on Monday, February 19, 2024. 

Hearing about this remarkable sale, we were inspired to delve into the world of top African artists and their impressive sales records. Our research highlights that talent in the art world can indeed lead to lucrative opportunities, debunking the myth of the ‘struggling artist.’ 

We’ve compiled a list of esteemed (young) African artists who have achieved sales of over or close to R1 million in the last four years. Here’s what we found.

Cinga Samson (born 1986, Khayelitsha, Cape Town)

Lift Off, 2017. Oil on canvas.
Sold for: R7,733,345 (321,300 GBP) by Sotheby’s London in Oct. 14, 2021 

Nelson Makamo (born 1982, Limpopo)

Untitled, 2019. Charcoal and acrylic on canvas. Estimate to sell for R863,979 – R1,209,551

Zanele Muholi (born 1972, Umlazi, South Africa)

Zodwa, Paris from Somnyama Ngonyama, 2014. Gelatin silver print, mounted. 

Sold for: R842,568 (35,000 GBP) at Phillips London — Photographs on Sep. 25, 2020

Nicholas Hlobo (born 1975, Cape Town)

Intlambo yochulumanco, 2021. Ribbon, leather.

Sold for: R 1,479,400 ZAR (70,934 GBP) at Aspire Art Auctions, Johannesburg on Oct. 31, 2021 2020.

Portia Zvavahera (born ​1985, Harare)


Vese Vakanddibata (They all gave me strength), 2016. Oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas.

Sold for: R6,862,289 (285,077 GBP) by Sotheby’s New York on May. 18, 2023 

Aboudia (born 1983, in Côte d’Ivoire)


Untitled, Executed in 2018. Acrylic, oil stick and gold marker on canvas

Sold for: R12,131,649 (504,000 GBP) at Christie’s in London on Jul. 01, 2022 

Cinga Samson’s Hliso Street V is estimated to sell for between R2 000 000 – 3 000 000 at ​​Strauss & Co, Africa’s Curatorial Voices auction in Cape Town.

To find out more about Cinga Samson’s work up for auction, visit the Strauss website.