Rasta The Artist Biography: Real Name, Background, Family Art Career
Rasta The Artist, has faced criticism from South Africans for his alleged low-quality celebrity portraits. Despite the backlash, he remains unyielding and dedicated to his craft.
Real Name And Background
Born in 1977 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Lebani Sirenje, also known as Rasta, spent his formative years in his hometown of Pumula East, Matabeleland North, before eventually relocating to South Africa. Nowadays, he calls the North East of Johannesburg his home. Rasta’s love for painting began at a young age, starting with simple sketches at nine. Over the years, his artwork has become well-known and can be seen in various places, including Ekhaya Park and Hillbrow Theatre.
Rasta attended Ingwengwe Primary School and completed his primary education in 1990. He then continued his studies at Magwegwe Secondary School in Bulawayo, finishing his secondary education in 1994. While he first began painting during his primary school years, it was during his high school years that he honed his craft and perfected his skills.
Rasta The Artist’s Family
Lebani is a devoted family man with a wife and two children. He tends to keep his personal life private, so little is known about his family, including their names. However, he has shared photos of his wife and youngest daughter on his Facebook account.
Lebani’s six-year-old daughter seems to have inherited his artistic talent, as evidenced by her painting of the late Nelson Mandela. In 2015, Lebani shared a photo on his social media account, proudly posing alongside his daughter as they held up her portrait of the beloved South African icon.
Rasta The Artist Art Career
Although Rasta first began painting in primary school, it wasn’t until 2003 that he turned his passion into a career. His speciality is creating portraits of deceased celebrities, which has earned him the nickname of the “funeral artist.”
Lebani Sirenje’s first celebrity portrait was of the late Walter Sisulu, who passed away in 2013. Unfortunately, he could not present the painting to Sisulu’s family, so he decided to keep it in his personal collection. While he doesn’t attend every funeral, particularly in distant locations, Lebani has created numerous portraits of well-known figures throughout his painting career.
His notable works include portraits of Mama Winnie Mandela, ProKid, Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela, Akhumzi Jezile, HHP, Joe Mafela, Dumi Masilela, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Zozibini Tunzi, Siya Kolisi, Oliver Mtukudzi, Julius Malema, Dr Joseph Shabalala, and Eminem.