Ruhan Janse Van Vuuren | | Art in South Africa
stay safe. info & support on COVID-19 at
× artists exhibitions training blog shop

Nokuthula Simelane

Nokuthula Simelane
Commission for the Govan Mbeki Municipality (Bethal, Mpumlanga)

Nokuthula Simelane was an activist and a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). She was studying in Swaziland, and returned to Johannesburg to meet an individual to receive vital information for the organization. She did so under the pretense of buying shoes for her upcoming graduation. The meeting was, however, an ambush and she was taken into custody by the South African Secret Police. This was at the time of detention without trials. Simelane was taken to a remote farm and tortured and eventually murdered. It came to light during the Truth and Reconcialiation Commission that her body was disposed of in an unmarked grave. To this day her body has not been found. She was 26 when she died.

Janse van Vuuren worked closely with Thembi Nkadimeng (Nokuthula's sister) in the creation of this work and met with her family in the process. The Simelane family recounted memories of Nokuthula being an individual that loved life and dancing. The tambourine in her hand represents the beating of the drum for freedom.

< Go back

Follow this artist