Khaya Witbooi is heavily influenced by street art and urban underground culture in his paintings and describes his work as “urban art”. His art-making is a combination of stencil and oil painting and he is known for his “Afro-pop” collage-style paintings that consist of various juxtapositions. He claims Picasso and the South African artist Asha Zero as sources of inspiration. His main themes often cover socio-political subjects and depict an edgy, urban style with African connotations. He deals with issues such as the apparent failure of democracy to solve problems related to post-colonial and post-apartheid South Africa, and he regularly addresses human behaviour in this context and the impact of globalization.
Khaya Witbooi, born in 1977, is South African and grew up in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape Province and now lives and works in Cape Town. After graduating from high school in 1995, he took a drawing course and then started working as an illustrator for an architectural firm and at the same time freelanced for The Argus newspaper in Cape Town (court drawings, cartoons, etc.). He came to specialize in painting portraits.
In June 2010 he was selected for the Good Hope Artist's Studio program, was given a studio and had the opportunity to paint full time.
Since December 2011, Witbooi has been an artist at Greatmore Studios in Woodstock, Cape Town. He exhibits his work at Worldart Gallery, also in Cape Town, and was a top-40 finalist in the 2013 SPI National Portrait Awards.