The daughter of farmers, Thandi Sibisi becomes South Africa’s first black female gallery owner, a major fixture on the art scene.
Haven’t we heard this story before? Nearly forty years ago a teenaged Madonna, left Michigan for Times Square and made it her mission to ‘rule the world’. Somewhere between the ages of 19 and 25, she arguably did. At the fresh age of 17, Thandi Sibisi, a striking young Zulu left her parents’ village, set her sites on the bright lights of Johannesburg and coincidentally landed in Ghandi Square.
The ambitious teenager quickly declared
“I’m going to own this city”.
Now, a mere eight years later, as far as the South African art world is concerned, she nearly does.
Sibisi, a former model, is now a major fixture on the South African art scene, and owns her own gallery, Sibisi Gallery – The Object of Art, representing such artists as Mary Sibande and Nicholas Hlobo. Recently she opened a second place, Sibisi Spirit, a home of upcoming artists.
The gallerist believes anything is possible for the country’s born free generation.
“All I have to do is look at myself and my background. Growing up, I would have never thought I would have been exposed to so many opportunities.”
South Africa still has critical crises of education and unemployment. Millions of young black people drop out of school, lack decent educational systems and are burdened by crushing unemployment.
Sibisi though, is a thriving entrepreneur. The gallerist owns her own marketing agency and media company. She hopes to serve as an example of what young South Africans have the potential to achieve. In February of this year she was nominated as one of the Most influential women in Business in South Africa.
For more on Thandi Sibisi, read her story, featured in The Guardian, here. is
Connect with Sibisi Gallery on Facebook.