Thami Jali

Thamsanqa Rutherford Jali

1955    Born in Lamontville, Durban to Joshua and Rebecca Jali. Brothers, Zamani and Sipho, sisters, Lindile,     Nonhlanhla and Nokuthula  Father a Medical Technologist, Mother, Housewife
1962         Family move to Clermont
1976    Family move to Esikhawini township in Richards Bay, father transferred to set up a branch for the Natal Blood Transfusion Services in Zululand
Thami starts his first year at University of Zululand but classes cancelled due to the Soweto uprising
1977-78     University of Zululand to study law
1979    Left university to work as a clerk for the Zulu government in Ulundi for 5 months
1980    Went back to the University of Zululand and registered for a BA in psychology, philosophy, English and French
1981-82    Registered at Rorke’s Drift and completes the 2 year certified course
1982    Wins First Prize at the Festival of African Arts for his wood sculpture ‘Mama (birth)’
1983-84    Studies ceramics at Technikon Natal under Hubie Wiid, Ute Ray, Carol Hayward Fell and Fee Halsted.
Founds ‘Art Communication’ during this time with Bongi Dhlomo, Vuminkosi Zulu, Sandile Zulu, George Msimang and Wiseman Mbambo
1987    Moves to Johannesburg and starts working at Mofolo Art Centre (Soweto City Council) in Soweto teaching ceramics and sculpture for a year
1989     Works in Kim Sacks studio in Yeoville for two months and is approached by Clifford Charles to share an exhibition with Samson Mudzunga at the Fuba (Federated Union of Black Artists) Gallery in May
    Returns to Durban in June
1990    Invitation to the Zabalaza Festival in London for five months. On return sets up Community Mural Projects with Terry-anne Stevenson, Ilse Mikula and paints the first mural at Khayalethu Arts Centre in Kwangcolosi, Valley ofa Thousand Hills
1992    Leaves Valley Trust to return to Johannesburg to set up Amakhono (skills) Arts Centre in Florida
1994    Returns to Durban after the first democratic election and lives at 38 Essex Road in Glenwood
1995    Paints the first mural at BAT Centre, when the mural was complete, Jali employed as the first visual arts coordinator for one year
1997    Artist in Residence at Edgewood College
1997    Invitation to India to exhibit at the New Dehli Triennale through the Dept. of Arts and Culture, a twin City Project with New Delhi
1998- 2000    Works with Community Mural Projects
2000    In January relocates to Mpumalanga and with funding from Dept. of Arts and Culture launchs a ceramic tile project with Matsulu Art Centre
2003-2005    Artists Village, Kingdom of Africa in White River running an art cooperative with 5 other artists
2004    Returns to Rorke’s Drift to teach for Rutec; a MAPPP Sita initiative to resuscitate the ceramic studio
2007     In January returns to Durban to the family home in Clermont to look after mother
Spends two years looking for studio space
2009    Finds studio space in Cato Manor at Umkhumbane with Sifiso kaMkame and other artists
2011    Cato Manor at Umkhumbane folds and mother relocates to live with Thami’s sisters
2012              Opens his own studio in the family home where he is currently living and working


1980        ‘Festival of African Art’ University of Zululand
1981        ‘Festival of African Art’ University of Zululand
1982        ‘Festival of African Art’ University of Zululand
1983         ‘Art Communication’ Indingilizi Gallery, Mbabane, Swaziland
1984         ‘Art Communication’ Executive Hotel, Umlazi   
1988    ‘Friends of Freedom’ (with Fikile Magadlela) Fuba Gallery, Johannesburg
1989    ‘Objects of Utility’ (with Samson Mudzunga) Fuba Gallery, Johannesburg
1989    ‘Five Friends’ (Paul Sibisi, Mpolokeng Ramphomane, Sifiso kaMkame, Gordon Gabashane and Thami Jali) NSA Gallery, Durban
1990    ‘Art from South African Townships’ ICA, London (Institute for Contemporary Arts)
1990    Vulamehlo – Open Eye’ Durban Art Gallery
1991     Thupelo Workshop Exhibition, Fuba Gallery, Johannesburg
1992     Thupelo Workshop Exhibition, Fuba Gallery, Johannesburg
1993    Art/OMI, International Artists Workshop, New York, USA
1994     Grahamstown Arts Festival Train exhibition
1994     National Arts Trust Exhibition, BAT Centre, Durban
1995    ‘38 Essex Road’ NSA Gallery, Durban
1995     Africus Johannesburg Biennale ’95, Johannesburg
1997    New Dehli Triennale, Lalit Kala Akademi, India
2004    InniBos Kunstefees, Nelspruit
2009    ‘A Known Heritage’ Kizo Art Gallery, Gateway, Durban
2010    ‘Amandla’ Durban Art Gallery
2011    ‘Amandla’ Menzi Mchunu & Democratic Gallery, BAT Centre, Durban
2011    ‘Three Parts More Harmony’ Durban Art Gallery
2014             ‘Retroactive’ a street art project and exhibition (KZNSA Gallery)


1998    ‘Ungqofo Ulalele’ Menzi Mchunu Gallery, BAT Centre, Durban
2007        ‘Transformation’ Menzi Mchunu Gallery, BAT Centre, Durban
2014        ‘Restless Spirt’ Durban Art Gallery


Artists for Human Rights Trust
Caversham Press
Campbell Collections, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban Art Gallery
Phansi Museum
Tatham Art Gallery
The Constitutional Court, Johannesburg
South African National Gallery, Cape Town
University of Zululand

Exhibitions at the KZNSA

Mezzanine Gallery
Mezzanine Gallery