5 Artists To Follow On Instagram Right Now
Published 9 months ago by

Instagram sheds light on the South African artist, who would not be getting the type of exposure at a traditional gallery. 

South African artists are getting more recognition, partially because it’s the age of social media where they can share their work with the world for free, but also because so much is happening in the socio-political climate of our country, that it would be impossible to not be inspired. Some of our favourite artists share their work via Instagram on a regular basis—bringing thoughtfulness and colour to our timelines on the daily. 

The presence of the South African creative is felt and appreciated now more than ever before. We look at the diversity of the artists and the impact their art has on people judging from the amount of the following they have. 


Nelson Makamo  

Known for his vibrant portraits set in pulsating African urbanized landscapes, Nelson Makamo is a celebrated, young South African artist.  

Observing with astute sensitivity the chaotic energy of the city, Makamo strives to capture everyday people going about their ordinary lives as the contemporary world accelerates around them. 

Makamo has over 133 000 followers on Instagram (@nelsonmakamo) and has had various international celebrities visiting his studio and purchasing his artworks. These include Swizz Beats, Oprah, Gayle King, Kelly Rowland and Carmelo Anthony. 

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TOMORROW’S DAUGHTERS I want to write a poem About pretty black girls Who don’t relax and lie their dreams away Voices that curl The straight edges of history Hair thin slices of a movement Turning the world kinky I respect the disciplined silent screamers Who expose the holes Emily Dickinson, I am climbing through To your wooden shed of isolation Where the robin’s song Robbed you of your sanity I revere people to my own detriment Perhaps you did too But when I enter your hallowed hearth Please don’t turn me away I want to show pretty black girls How to look at their hearts With eyes blaring at full blast The way you did Together we can build a bridge To the promise in their faces And pull them towards poems By pretty black girls Wearing crowns of change… poem by @lebomashile

A post shared by Nelson Makamo (@nelsonmakamo) on


Lady Skollie 

Born Laura Windvogethe South African artist and activist, goes by the pseudonym Lady Skollie. Her provocative work—done in crayon, watercolour and ink—tackles themes of gender, sexuality, and consent. 

Lady Skollie sits just over 23 000 followers on Instagram (@LadySkollie) and recently had the honour of redesigning the new R2 and R5 coins in a campaign celebrating the quarter-century anniversary of South Africa’s constitutional democracy. 

Since graduating in 2014, Lady Skollie has had nine solo shows, held at Cape Town’s Association for Visual Arts Gallery and Worldart Gallery, the Stevenson galleries in Cape Town and Johannesburg, the TMRW Gallery and Everard Read in Johannesburg, and Tyburn Gallery in London. 

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In 2017 I opened a show titled FIRE WITH FIRE. It was about catharsis, revenge, violence and being a woman in South Africa. This work titled JUMP: Escape from the Burning tower depicts a woman jumping out of the top of a burning tower pursued by men, she throws herself into the consuming fire instead of getting caught by the throng of men behind her. In SA we are made to sacrifice ourselves, over and over choosing the fire just before getting caught. This has been the most violent week in SA I can remember, all our minds have been under attack, our memories triggered, wounds scraped open and all I can say is I am scared and I am scared for you all. I realized a while back that there is no plan. So be safe, be there for each other.

A post shared by Lady Skollie (@ladyskollie) on


Tony Gum 

Tony Gum’s fresh and energetic imagery has attracted national attention. With gusto she is producing a new prism with which to view African contemporary art and culture. Born in Kwa Langa township in Cape Town, Western Cape Province, she began her photographic career by posting selfies on Instagram; this amateur effort quickly developed into a professional art career. 

Putting her gifts and talent where her social activist, influencer, and advocacy passions lie, Gum makes certain African heritage, culture and belief systems remain front and centre of 21st Century discourse. 

She sits at just over 48 000 followers on Instagram (@tony_gum). 

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A post shared by Mr. (@tony_gum) on


Zanele Muholi 

Zanele Muholi is a visual activist and photographer born in Umlazi, Durban, and living in Johannesburg.  

Muholi’s self-proclaimed mission is ‘to re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond’. She co-founded the Forum for Empowerment of Women (FEW) in 2002, and in 2009 founded Inkanyiso (www.inkanyiso.org), a forum for queer and visual (activist) media.  

They continue to train and co-facilitate photography workshops for young women in the townships. 

Muholi sits at nearly 90 000 followers on Instagram (@muholizanele) and was part of South African music group Freshly Ground. 


Ross Symons 

Local creative entrepreneur, Ross Symons, aka @white_onrice on Instagram, is an Origami artist and stop motion animator. 

It was, in fact, Ross’ brother that gave him his first real origami project. Working on a time capsule project for Vega School, he needed family members to each contribute something and tasked Ross with folding an origami crane as his contribution.  

Unwittingly, this was the tiny creative spark that set the future in motion. 

Ross has essentially knitted together various skills he has learnt along the way, from videography and stop animation to photography and editing. Combining this with his origami he has created a business, a very loyal following and an uber cool job to do. 

He has over 114 000 Instagram followers. 

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