Masombuka graduated in international studies from Stellenbosch University, which informs her work with critical thinking from a global perspective. She references Ali A. Mazrui’s statement that Africans need to interpret their history themselves and seek to re-invent Africa on their own terms. Therefore, ‘Ndebele Superhero’ is a platform that has allowed Masombuka to speak of stories on identity, culture, modernity, technology and ritual from the perspective of a 21st-century Ndebele Woman. Her work aims to highlight the evolutionary process of culture, particularly the Ndebele culture, and how it emulates human behavioural patterns as well the various environments that influence its formulation.
Her solo exhibition at October Gallery, Nges’rhodlweni: A Portal for Black Joy showcased a new body of work which displays contemporary narratives of traditional Ndebele ceremonies. The title refers to a special space in the Ndebele household, where people of all ages gather to share in the communion of art, community, and expression. This sacred space permits the manifestation of joy, which is recognised as a prerequisite for the intergenerational exchange of knowledge. Masombuka describes how being present and open to one's community in this preserved space facilitates the growth of knowledge within each individual, something fundamental to the evolution of culture. For the Ndebele community such transmission is not considered linear, but instead is imagined as being cyclical, hence infinite and unbounded.
In her other earlier series, Time: Gadesi S'khathi, Masombuka captures the essence of time, through the metaphorical use of lemons, she hints at the passing on and tensions of generational knowledge and how this informs identity and belonging. In Proudly South African: An Exploration of Identity, Masombuka juxtaposes national symbols with other elements to talk about the ongoing politics of youth identity in South Africa. In 2009: Namba S’khambe, she explores the politics of a ‘seat at the table’ and how capitalism and inequity inform the dynamics of engagement for institutional paradigms.
Masombuka’s work has been exhibited widely across Europe and South Africa, and her photographic series have made a distinct impact at London’s 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in 2022 and 2023. Masombuka has recently completed a residency in Mantova, Italy and has been included in a group show, focused on nature, the cosmos and Black feminist perspectives at M.Bassy, Hamburg. She has been a guest speaker on a variety of talk series, including Taste Makers Africa (Accra, 2020), Almanac Projects (London, 2020), Sandberg Institute (Amsterdam, 2020), Bocconi University (Milan, 2022) and C-Change Festival, (Mantova, 2022)
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View below for career highlights and works for sale by the artist.