Dennis Makonyololo - A potter for all ages

Date:27 May 2018 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

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A resident of Thengwe village in the Mutale area, Dennis Makonyololo, embraced art from an early age when he used vumba (clay) dug from the riverside in his village and moulded articles ranging from animals to human beings.

Today, Makonyololo is a full-fledged potter who fashions bowls and pots from clay. His items can be used in the home for domestic purposes such as plates, flower pots and water drums.

“Making pottery is a traditional Venda craft dating back many centuries ago,” he said. “You can also trace that art to the sculptures of Mapungubwe.”

He was inspired by the works of other Venda potters and sculptors, who all expressed their culture and traditions through art. He credits the acclaimed master crafter Rebecca Matibe, who achieved international fame for her traditional Venda pottery items, as his inspiration. He is now determined to keep her legacy alive by continuing to work on excellent art items and further establishing himself as an international brand.

“If you have been taught to do good things, the only way to honour those who taught you is to do those good things with all your strength,” he said. “Although Rebecca Matibe is no longer a full-time potter, she taught me everything she knew and that's the magic of art making.”

He still digs the clay from the river banks and the mountainside and uses it to fashion amazing art objects. “I am able to beat unemployment with my work,” he said. “Today I am a full-time ceramist who specialises in decorative and functional items.”

Makonyololo is currently based at the Thohoyandou Art Centre and can be reached on 073 385 3377.



Dennis Makonyololo is an acclaimed potter and ceramist.


By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.