Cape Town graffiti artist Skumbuzo “Skubalisto” Vabaza’s unique style is easy to pick up. In November 2015, he was part of the Lacing Up Langa project, where Red Bull, during their second Amaphiko academy, invited street artists from South Africa and around the world to create an outdoor gallery of murals. The 28-year-old has been giving walls around Langa a facelift with his colourful murals which feature Brenda Fassie and Temba Bavuma (above) among others. We asked him about how he fell in love with graffiti, his plans for 2016, and more.
Live SA: Tell us about your background?
Skubalisto: I was born in Zimbabwe, grew up in the Eastern Cape in Mdantsane, then moved to Port Elizabeth where I stayed for a while before moving to Cape Town. I fell in love with the city and its culture, so I decided to stay. I’ve been working non-stop ever since, man.
Live SA: How did your love for graffiti come about?
Skubalisto: It started the day I got my first set of crayons but drawing on paper quickly got boring for me. I just started scribbling on walls, which always got me into trouble at home and school. Obviously growing up around Cape Town, the graffiti scene has always been visible since the late 90s and I followed the work of cats like Falko One, Robaono, Mak1one and more. I’ve always painted, but I only started using spray paint religiously in 2010.
Live SA: How did you get involved with the Lacing Up Langa project?
Skubalisto: It’s quite a funny story, I wasn’t even invited for that gig, I gatecrashed it. I got there, found the homies Robano, Carlito and Falko already chopping it up so I joined in. I remember it was Sis Brenda Fassie’s birthday on that day, so doing a portrait of her seemed ideal. How the Temba Bavuma piece came about was; me and the homeboy Carlito were talking about cricket and he happened to mention Bavuma’s name and that he was from kwa-Langa, so I was like let me hook up a portrait of the homie to big him up [and] let him know that we see the work he’s doing because essentially that’s why I do these portraits, man – to shed light and immortalise the people that society doesn’t acknowledge.
Live SA: Lastly, what’s in store for 2016?
Skubalisto: This year, my homie Carlito, and I are working on this mini project called The Moving Gallery where we go in and around Cape Town painting murals in different neighbourhoods. Basically, I’m doing more work because when you’re self-employed there is no rest; everyday is a working day.
For more murals and projects, check out Skubalisto’s Facebook page.
All images: Sabelo Mkhabela