Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
18 Mar 2021
10:34 am

King Zwelithini portrait: people criticised me prematurely, says Rasta

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Artist is being celebrated for getting it right this time around.

Rasta's portrait of King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: Rasta/Twitter

Rasta, real name Lebani Sirenje, is trending again on Thursday and this time, for a good reason.

The artist is being celebrated for getting the portrait of AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, who passed on last week at a Durban hospital from Covid-related complications while being treated for diabetes.

Soon after the king’s death, Rasta trended on social media, as South Africans pleaded with him to not paint a portrait of the king.

The artist has previously been highly criticised for always getting his portraits badly.

OBITUARY: The life and times of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini

While he usually only posts his work on social media for people to comment on, Rasta told eNCA he also had to travel to KwaZulu-Natal this time around to present his work live.

This to avoid anyone photoshopping his work.

Rasta paints King Goodwill Zwelithini

Rasta’s portrait of King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: GCIS

“People were criticising me before about my work. Usually I do post my work on social media, so for today I thought let me go live here in kwaNongoma and present my portraits with me because with posting, some other people will take my work and photoshop it so that people complain thinking it’s Rasta who did the painting when it is not me,” he told eNCA in a video shared on social media on Thursday.

“I was worried to come here all the way from Joburg. I prayed so much in the morning so that they can welcome me and my work and they just did that. I’m very grateful,” he said.


He has been trending since as people congratulate him on a job well done.

All Rasta needed was threats so he could give us his best work. Fear is a great motivator,” said @MatriarchMellow, while @girl_kaybee said: “Rasta knew y’all would be on his case and he actually did a good job.”
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.