2022 Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winners Announced

The award celebrates emerging South African artists and alongside awardees in theatre, poetry, dance, jazz and music, LADY SKOLLIE wins for Visual Arts.

Left to right: Sylvester Thamsanqa (Thami) Majela, Msaki, Mahlatsi Mokgonyana (Theatre Duo), Linda Sikhakhane, Billy Langa (Theatre Duo), LADY SKOLLIE, and Koleka Putuma. Photographer: Themba Mokase

Left to right: Sylvester Thamsanqa (Thami) Majela, Msaki, Mahlatsi Mokgonyana (Theatre Duo), Linda Sikhakhane, Billy Langa (Theatre Duo), LADY SKOLLIE, and Koleka Putuma. Photographer: Themba Mokase

The Standard Bank Young Artist Awards were established in 1981 to celebrate emerging South African artists who live their personal truth through their art and show exceptional talent in their chosen medium but have not yet received recognition and acclaim.

The 2022 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners are:

  • Visual Arts – LADY SKOLLIE
  • Poetry – Koleka Putuma
  • Theatre – Mahlatsi Mokgonyana and Billy Langa (Theatre Duo)
  • Dance – Sylvester Thamsanqa (Thami) Majela
  • Music – Msaki
  • Jazz – Linda Sikhakhane



Born in Cape town in 1987, Lady Skollie holds a certificate in Business Acumen of Artists and Bachelor of Arts in History of Art and Dutch Literature from the University of Cape Town. Her vibrant, often controversial work has been exhibited both locally and internationally, her solo exhibitions having garnered her recognition as well as a residency abroad.

Resoundingly San, she uses ink, watercolour and crayon to defy taboos and talk openly about issues of sex, pleasure, consent, human connection, violence and abuse. Her work is simultaneously bold and vulnerable, expressing the joy and darkness of the erotic and the duality of human experience.

Lady Skollie has been named in OkayAfrica’s 100 Women, an annual list that honours women across 10 different fields for their contribution, achievements and influence.


Sylvester Thamsanqa (Thami) Majela (DANCE)

Thamsanqa graduated from Performing Arts, Research and Training Studios in Belgium. He is well-trained in improvisation, and studied dance and dance teaching at the Tshwane University of Technology.

Thamsanqa choreographed Neverland, a theatre-dance film motivated by dissociative identity disorder. This film aimed to educate the black community that the disorder ia not a work of witchcraft but a condition that requires treatment and care.

To Thamsanqa, dance isn’t just movement, it’s an expression of energy, storytelling that breaks down stereotypes and norms. “Space” plays a critical role as he defies traditional restrictions of his artform to become one of the most captivating dancers of his generation.


Msaki. (MUSIC)

Born Asanda Lusaseni Mvana, Msaki hails from East London in the Eastern Cape. She studied Visual Art and Design before deciding to narrow her field into just Visual Art. Her hard work and dedication led her to be selected to study art at the University of Leeds.

Later she was selected to study music in North Carolina, USA, and after discovering her passion and calling, she made the decision to pursue music full-time.

Msaki’s sound straddles genres and she weaves her musical heritage into a beautiful fabric of expressions. As a musical oracle of her time, she seeks to evoke the future of Africa’s sound.

Today, Msaki is not just an artist but a business woman as owner of independent record label, One Shushu Day Artistry.


Koleka Putuma (POETRY)

Koleka Putuma is a multi-award-winning theatre practitioner, writer and poet. Her poetry tackles themes such as homophobia, womanhood, race and the dynamics of relationships, religion and politics. Her poetry is sharp and thought provoking, unique in its form, language and structure. Every line, a powerful statement of what she stands for.

She is the founder and director of Manyano Media, a black owned company that produces and promotes original black queer women stories with the aim to empower and educate.

“Collective Amnesia”, her bestselling debut collection of poems, took the South African literature scene by storm, being named book of the year by the City Press and one of the books of the year by Sunday Times and Quartz Africa. The book is being studied in tertiary level in South African Universities and Gothenburg University in Sweden.


Linda Sikhakane (JAZZ)

Linda Sikhakhane is a musician and composer born in Umlazi, a township in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he achieved his Diploma in Jazz & Popular Music. His journey with the saxophone began when he joined Siyakhula Music Centre, and he has never looked back.

His art form is captivating. A moving melody of notes that is imbued with his heritage and determination to compel his saxophone to speak in his mother tongue.

Through dedication to his craft, Linda emerged as a winner at the SAMBRO Overseas Scholarship competition, where he was competing against well-established names in the Jazz field. Being an academic and wanting to learn more and refine his craft he used his prize money to fund a Degree programme at The New School, taking his saxophone skill to the next level.


Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana (THEATRE)

An inseparable theatre-making partnerships, Mokgonyana and Langa became the Theatre Duo when they met as students during their days studying at The Market Theatre Laboratory. Since then, their creativity, talent and passion has brought them together and take them places as a unit.

Their work explores the relationship between the body and voice, its truth and the indelible impact it has on its audiences. The result is storytelling that is well-crafted, edgy and grounding-breaking.

In 2018, the duo was invited to publish their critically acclaimed award-winning poetry in a performance theatre production, Tswalo. And in 2019, the same book was republished to form part of the curriculum at Rhodes University. Their inherent ability to transform and evolve their art-form has led them to tell stories through various mediums such as Cassette, digital audiobook and fashionable merchandise.



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