Their Humble Abode

Senzo Shabangu

The exhibition Their Humble Abode is a body of work that narrates the story of African children as they migrate from different places in search of better education. They leave their loved ones to settle for a certain duration at universities or other institutions, sometimes far away from home. The work is based on students’ faith, morals, mother tongues and teachings they have received. The exhibition includes paintings of the ark to symbolise how students walk together to the imaginary promised land and the greener pastures lying ahead of them.
Their Humble Abode develops Shabangu’s previous works on the cityscape and Joburg Towers, which honoured all African children who migrated from different parts of the continent and are in other parts of the world. In this body of work, he travels the continent in his mind, engaging with, for example, Goree Island in Senegal, Ethiopia and the Cape to Cairo stretch in honour of the African child who goes out to battle like a soldier.

Genre: Fine Art

Format: Exhibition Capture

Duration: 8 – 31 July 2021 


Senzo Shabangu was born in the village of Driefountein, Mpumalanga, and now resides in Gresswold; he spent a large part of his childhood living at an apostolic mission station. Imagery from this time in his life features regularly in his work. Shabangu often places city landscapes emerging from below and suspended above his characters creating an almost claustrophobic sense of being surrounded by the city. Within this theme, Shabangu also deals with movement in the city and how people are moved. Many of his works look at how people live and the politics surrounding forced removals.

Senzo Shabangu is a multidimensional artist from Johannesburg whose work explores space, alienation, and identity. Shabangu believes in the importance of social commentary in art, bringing his visions from God to life, exploring power dynamics in art, as well as the importance of paying it forward. He is currently producing works in his new home and his art studio and recently collaborated with a group of artists at a retreat in Knysna – sharing and experiencing various mediums.


Their Humble Abode was created for the Residencies for Artists and Writers (RAW) project hosted by the Arts of Africa and Global Souths research programme at Rhodes University. Senzo Shabangu was the selected Artist in Residence in May 2021, and mounted this solo exhibition at the RAW Spot Gallery.