This illustrator is turning taxi rides into art


Anyone who has ever climbed into a taxi in Mzanzi knows that South Africans are a multifaceted people. We’re a uniquely blended potjie pot of ingredients. For Johannesburg’s Karabo “Poppy” Moletsane, illustration is a way of exploring these different textures. And as a female artist working within a male-dominated field, she’s making her work stand out.

After acquiring her BA in Visual Communication from The Open Window School of Visual Communication, the 24-year-old illustrator and designer set out to talk to South Africans about South Africans through her brightly coloured work. And where better to find a collection of Mzanizi’s most interesting individuals than in a taxi? The notorious commuter vessels formed the site of research for her favourite series of work, Sho’t Left: A Zine on South African Occupations, which looks at the diversity of the country’s cultures through everyday travellers.

“My intention is to celebrate the great aesthetic that I think South Africa has,” she says. “I love to illustrate ordinary people in an extraordinary way.” Judging by the reception her work is getting, Moletsane is nailing that mandate – for Sho’t Left she was awarded a Gold Craft Loerie. But beyond the success of her work, her focus is own showing her fellow citizens the rainbow in this nation and inspiring more women to brave the arts.