Mvemve Jiyane was born in Mofolo, Soweto in 1960. His primary school teachers soon discovered that he could sketch and draw very well, so they would ask him to draw the illustrations that they needed for their lessons on the blackboard. While at high school, he would use his spare time to sketch scenes and people in the streets near his home.
Because he came from a large family, there was insufficient money to keep him at school. He left in standard 8 to look for work in Johannesburg. He was employed in a insurance office as a cleaner and later was promoted to filing clerk. After work he would continue sketching and drawing. Upon hearing about the Fuba Art School in Newton, he visited it one lunch time to enquire about part-time art lessons. It was this that lead to him enrolling to learn more about handling different mediums and also how to sculpt.
Mvemve left his job to concentrate on painting full time, and to sell his work at curios shops for tourists. He also managed to participate in successful exhibitions with Peter Sibeko, Hargreaves Ntukwana, Godfrey Ndaba and David Mbele in the 1980's.
His work has been bought by art lovers both locally and overseas, and his work can be found in the Fort Hare museum / art gallery.
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