Friday, 11 November 2011

Grime, Crime and Mutant Gangs- The illustrated mind of Tumba Kevin Makonga

“If u cannot get hold of me, u can find me on Ses' street eating fat mushrooms and drinking pure liquid-Acid”
-Tumba Kevin Makonga

Somewhere in the depths of all of our minds there lies a personal world fully furnished with characters, animals, colours,and all the tangible elements of something real, that speak of our relationship with reality. It’s that world that you witness in your dream state, and bringing it out into the real world without three daily meals of hallucinogenic narcotics is a task that Mr. Makonga seems to achieve effortlessly.

Meeting Mr. Makonga was an experience in inspiration, although I have no idea what he does with his days, it seems that every time I run into him, he has a pile of pens and a sketchbook fused to his fingers. And when you look at his drawings you begin to understand why. The subconscious world that our brains generally relegate to bouts of insanity or nightmares exists in an uneasy truce of consciousness in Mr Makonga’s mind. It bursts out of him via some channel straight from god that ends at the tip of his pen.

The world he is partially living in- Grime Town.

The godforsaken inhabitants of Grime Town live in a kind of post-apocalyptic space where they must battle for survival against fat arrogant pigeons and rats, some of whom display the mutation so typical of nuclear fallout.

These strange quazi-human scavengers have taken their places at the heads of what appear to be organized and quietly violent gangs of mutant city animals, as protectors, as pimps, or as lords and masters.

The human inhabitants who live in corrugated iron shacks and communicate via fuck-off big eighties cell phones, have mysteriously adopted the fashion sense of Run DMC and flavor flav. The children borne of these human survival-machines, sport gas masks, spray paint, ketties and semi automatic bubble weapons, which they holster in their nappies. Cheeseboys and vandals, these hyper-mature babies of the Grime Town apocalypse must have been raised on an extraordinary diet.

A severely unhinged psycho formerly of the Grime Town human massive, rocking a set of hillbilly dungarees, has declared himself “Pigeon Protector” and crowned himself by duct-taping a brace-toothed mask to his face. This is a truly disturbing image, not only because Mr. Makonga has illustrated this homicidal bastard with the soft, barefooted gentility of a country pumpkin farmer, but also because of what it implies about the state of post-war cease fire in Grime Town. Are these humans feeding on mutant pigeons? The image “Bird Season” implies that they are, and the fur coats and hollowed out carcasses that the Grime town Lords wear as business suits bare testament to this unsavory dietary practice.

But perhaps the greatest character of the Grime Town underground is the Rat Lord, whose alcohol ravaged rodent face peers out from the hood of a dirt encrusted rat-carcass coat that is bursting at the seems with his obese mass. A recurring character in Makonga’s imaginary world, the Rat lord is pictured several times, sitting on his fat ass, drinking “Makonga Cognac” or playing video games. Some might venture to suggest that Makonga himself bears some affinity to the scoundrel rat lord whose soldiers run the streets scavenging, hustling and robbing so that they might return to the nest with enough swag to placate their leader. Although there is certainly no resemblance between the artist and this character, one gets the impression that Makonga is slowly embracing his role as president of Grime Town, Post apocalyptic world leader, and whiskey manufacturer.

For Makonga and his crew, the Grime Town brand has only just begun to gain momentum. At the Mark Ong sneaker workshop this year in Johannesburg central, Makonga took a pair of Nike Up’s to the Grime Town level. And recently there has been talk of Grime Town T-shirts hitting the shelves of some local suppliers. Personally, I am holding thumbs for some animated stories from the streets of Grime Town.

All Images copyright Tumba Kevin Makonga

Words copyright Natalie Propa.


  1. Whaaaaaaddauuup Son :D !!! Looking slick moving up yo. . .

    Come Join Tumblr 2

  2. This is ill. Big up to the young Makonga

  3. Very good article! What a wonderfull universe hope that I will get the success its worth

  4. Wow, this's awesome! You're talented TKM

  5. Shout out to the General Makonga and the grimey pidgeons... One