SHARE
"I live by the words: Follow your heart, not people, and dont forget to use your mind," says Disruptor, Zama Phakathi.

ManetaZama Phakathi, 25, cannot remember a time when she wasn’t interested in art.

Her mom and grandmother were both seamstresses, inspiring her creative flair. After matriculating she studied theatre and television direction at university and then went on to curate shows for various art galleries.

In 2013, she took a giant leap: launching Stop Sign Art Gallery, a mobile contemporary creative space supporting lesser-known South African artists. The artworks – paintings, sculptures, photography and ceramics – are exhibited in a container, which also hosts live music and dance performances.

BBC Africa recently featured Phakathi as an African woman under the age of 31 who is making an impact on the continent and beyond. She also hosts her own television programme, Zama on TV, on DSTV Channel 190 ED.

“Being a young, unknown woman means that it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Phakathi, especially where funding is concerned. But she’s persevered, and with two fundraising auctions lined up – one local, the other in London – the future looks brighter. “I gave birth to this baby and it’s now growing up. The whole idea is to build an art hub housing an art residency, a gallery and a library in central Johannesburg.”