Thandi Sibisi

People call Thandi Sibisi and say: “I hear everything you touch turns to gold. I want you to do that for me.” Bored with small-town KwaZulu-Natal life, Sibisi left Estcourt at 17 to find her fortune in Jo’burg. At 19 she started an experiential marketing consultancy, Invogue, and was soon putting on major events, including campaigns around the Fifa 2010 World Cup for the department of arts and culture. Later that year, struggling for inspiration locally, Sibisi headed to Europe to feed her new creative appetite. “I just walked and walked, visiting all the art galleries

I could,” she explains. She returned artistically revived, and in early 2012 opened the edgy Afro-chic Sibisi gallery at Melrose Arch, featuring high-end works from the very best local talent.

With the South African arts community abuzz at her new creation, the young alchemist has her sights on Sibisi branches in New York and London.

— Ian Macleod