Mel Madiba

Born in 1993, Phenyo Melody Madiba, better known as ‘Mel Madiba’, is a 25-year-old multifaceted creative. As a child, Mel found pleasure in drawing – especially on the walls of her home. This recreational activity soon flared into a passionate hobby, which her mother steered to paper, canvas, and art classes. 


After finishing High School, having taken Design as a subject, Madiba went to study Interior Design at The Design School of Southern Africa, where she fell in love with wood and discovered pyrography, which is the art of drawing on wood, leather or other materials using a soldering iron. It is through this art form that she began creating works that seek to explore various aspects of who she is.


Madiba taps into the inner workings of her mind to conceive work that is rooted in femininity, consciousness, and the full expression of oneself. Putting emphasis on balance – the duality in human experiences – she portrays an array of emotions from a black woman’s lens. Her chosen subject matter is predominantly black women at different stages of their growth. She envisions a world where black beauty can be fully expressed and appreciated without the need for it to be substantiated.


Inspired by artists such as Zanele Muholi, Lina Iris Viktor, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Donald Nxumalo, Madiba employs expressive markings by fire, gold, and African bronze blue in attempts to illustrate the natural divine nature of black women.


Madiba has participated in various group exhibitions over the years and was part of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives 2019. Furthermore, Madiba was selected as the winner of the Blessing Nogbeni Art Prize in 2019. 

1993 -
Nationality: South African
Residence: Pretoria/ Johannesburg