Born in a small sleepy town in the Eastern Cape, it wasn’t long before the serene start to Sinobomi’s life was interrupted by tragedy. At just five years old, after the passing of her mother, Sinobomi was relocated to the bustling township of Soweto where she was sent to live with her grandfather.
Feared by everyone in the neighbourhood, Sinobomi’s grandfather was a violent and angry man who abused Sinobomi and her two cousins in every way and it wasn’t until her aunt came to visit them some eight years later that Sinobomi was able to disclose the circumstances of her life and have her grandfather placed behind bars.
Together with her aunt and her cousins, Sinomobi relocated once again, this time to the Western Cape where she attended Zisukhanyo Secondary School in Philippi, an under-resourced township school struggling under the burden of South Africa’s apartheid legacy. Unused to her newfound freedom and surroundings, Sinobomi found the experience scary and overwhelming but she had a special skill that had helped her all these years. Turning to her art, she once again began to express herself through drawing.
Drawing had always been Sinobomi’s way of dealing with her feelings but art was not a class that was offered at her new high school which was only able to cover the basic curriculum. Instead, Sinobomi developed her drawing on her own, taking out books from the library and drawing for hours at home. At the same time, her school marks began to improve and she started to flourish.
Finally, as Sinobomi started her last year of school, she heard about SAEP’s Arts Outreach programme which included an after-school art class for students in her community. She immediately seized the opportunity to join and began to further explore her deep passion for design – an area of art that had intrigued her but which she had not been able to navigate without the support of her family and school. Helping to make backdrops and set design items for SAEP’s drama students with the help of SAEP’s Arts Coordinator, Sinobomi’s talents and desires were developed and affirmed and, the following year with the help of a new design portfolio, she enrolled in a surface design course at a local tertiary institute.
Says Sinobomi: “My advice to young township artists is: If you love art, let no one discourage you. There are a lot of job opportunities in the creative industry and your passion can be more than just a hobby. SAEP can lead the way for you but you must be willing to learn and focus.”