Vongani Shane Maimele (25) with businessman, Mike Nkuna of the Masingita Group of Companies, holding a drawing Maimele made of him and his wife. PHOTO: Kenneth Mathye.
Nkuna is widely regarded as one of the pioneer developers of property in previously disadvantaged areas. The Masingita Group of Companies has an existing portfolio of properties, mainly comprising retail properties in rural and township areas of South Africa.
Maimele started V~Art, an organisation that promotes art, especially in previously disadvantaged areas, such as the rural Majosi village outside Makhado (previously known as Louis Trichardt), where he was born.
“I had an opportunity to go to university to study Fine and Applied Arts. Not many young people get this chance. That is one of the reasons I am giving back and creating such platforms for children who are interested,” says Maimele.
Maimele adds that his organisation helps children to realize their potential and dreams. “When showing an interest in arts, many children are often told that they are not good enough and discouraged by teachers and parents. The elders mostly assume the responsibility to choose careers for their children, which could be catastrophic,” he says.
Before joining the Tshwane University of Technology to study for a Diploma: Fine and Applied Arts, in 2016, Maimele studied for a Bachelor's in Social Science (majoring in Psychology) at the University of the Free State. “I stayed there for two years and eventually left to follow my real calling,” says Maimele.
In June, Maimele attracted Nkuna’s attention. Nkuna’s Masingita Group of Companies owns many South African shopping malls, including the Bara and Jabulani Malls in Soweto.
“I was elated when he (Nkuna) accepted the drawing I did of him and his wife. It was an honour, since he is my role model,” Maimele concludes.