Up-and-coming fine artist, Masana Rafuma from Tshituni Tsha Fhasi village in Makhado, Limpopo is eager to make a name for herself in the industry.
Rafuma is a self-taught fine artist who has enjoyed drawing from a young age. Her passion for drawing started when she was 9 years old. The 29-year-old is a pencil, oil pastel, acrylic paint, and watercolor artist.
She fell in love with drawing after one of her primary teachers gave her homework to draw an animal of her choice.
“I then came back home and asked my mother to help me with my homework. She drew me a fish, as a child I was amazed by how real the fish looked. I wanted to be as good as she was,” said Rafuma.
“From that day onwards, I started drawing cartoons from TV shows and my love for drawing grew. During my high school time, I participated in art competitions with other schools from Gr. 9 to 11. I never won anything by the way, but my love for drawing grew much more,” she said.
She had three things that really motivated her to be a drawing artist.
“The desire to create something perfect. I grew up hearing a lot of words like You’re not good enough, you won’t make it, you can’t, so these words motivated me and made me have a desire for perfection. Like an ever-lasting feeling of perfection and control.
“I found joy in realizing that with just a small wipe of an eraser, I can fix the mistake I made and change something into perfection. The never-ending desire to create and share my feelings through art, drawing something that brings a smile and connects the next person with the art without vocally saying much,” she explained.
HOW HARDSHIPS SHAPED LIMPOPO FINE ARTIST MASANA RAFUMA
“The ability to provide for myself and my family. Growing up in a poor family background, and being raised by a single mother was never easy. There were days when I had to go to school without eating or carrying anything for lunch, and all I had to do was to understand that she was trying and not ask for too much.
“This made me grow up a little faster than I should have, and I did not have time to be a child, but think and be responsible like an adult. Drawing has been my escape from hunger. The little I get has been my bread and butter,” she said.
In the beginning, drawing was just a hobby for the Limpopo born Rafuma and never really didn’t know what she knows now.
“I had a love for it but I never knew that it can be a career and make a living out of it. Started researching it when I was doing my first year in University. No matter how much I wanted to focus on my studies, art always came to mind and at times it felt like something trapped in me fighting to come out.
“There were times when I wanted to drop out of school, most days I would sit in a lecture hall and start drawing. In 2017, I attended an exhibition at Thohoyandou with other local artists and got so much inspiration from other artist’s works and from that day I wanted to improve my skills and focus on art,” she said.
“I started watching YouTube channel tutorial videos on different techniques on how to improve in drawing. In 2019 after graduating, I started drawing for a living since I was fresh from University, unemployed, and seeking a job,” added Rafuma.
HOW DRAWING SAVED HER FROM DEPRESSION
“I was going through a depression phase [during covid-19] where my life felt stuck and had no luck with jobs and everyone around me felt I was not trying hard enough. It was drawing that got me through those tough times and kept me alive even though I was not making much.
“The most challenging thing for me throughout my journey as an artist has been the feeling of not being good enough. Comparing my work with others and being overwhelmed and feeling I am not good enough for this industry,” she explains.
She concludes by saying her secret to success is to dream big, love what she does, and work hard to make that dream come true.