BY Nikki Bolton

Two rhino graze companionably alongside each other, recorded for posterity in watercolour harmony.  What makes this beautiful piece of artwork even more remarkable is that the artist, Daniel Mkele, painted it only using his mouth.  This was the painting recently presented to local rhino activist, Wayne Bolton, of the NPC One Land Love It.
Kevin Hustler, of the Strategic Development Projects at Nelson Mandela University Business School, became aware of Dan Mkele’s talent and was so impressed that he commissioned him to paint this piece specifically for Wayne Bolton.  


“I wanted to give him this piece of unique art as a gift to acknowledge the journey

he has travelled so far and thank him for his contribution to rhino conservation.”


Artist, Dan Mkele, a paraplegic, was injured in a rugby match in 1996 which led to his physical challenges. He only started painting after water colour artist, Ian Shaw, introduced art 15 years ago to residents of Cheshire Home Summerstrand (PE), where Mkele resides. Shaw even went as far as teaching himself to paint using his mouth to hold the brush so that he could teach Jackson Gqomo and Dan Mkele, who could not use their hands due to their disabilities, to become mouth painters.  Shaw has been teaching the residents how to improve their art with two additional volunteers – Liz Glass and Maxi Jachens.  These altruistic artists have given these men a gift and Mkele, who is passionate about art, finds that it gives a sense of purpose to his life and provides him a way to express his acceptance of life despite his physical difficulties. Mkele is sponsored by the Chris Burger Players Fund. 

This example of Mkele, an ordinary person achieving something extraordinary, a demonstration of someone using their talents and resources despite circumstances to make a difference, resonated with Hustler. He identified this in the message of Wayne Bolton who in the last two years has cycled 8000kms around SA for rhino conservation – raising funds for anti-poaching initiatives, creating awareness, and by example motivating and challenging others to make a difference. 

This was a fitting gift that represents the journey of two men who have both demonstrated that where the mind leads the body follows and that one should never allow circumstances to limit the contribution that we are capable of making to the world around us.

“I am so proud of Dan,” said Kanyisa Sam, a Human Resources Student and volunteer from the Nelson Mandela University, who has a close working relationship with Mkele.  Sam arranged that this gift would be handed over to Bolton at Cheshire Homes Summerstrand. Bolton commented:
“I was blown away by Dan’s talent and very moved by the effort he has invested in capturing something so close to my heart. Dan and Kevin have given me a gift I will surely cherish forever and it will be a reminder to me of the capacity we all have to contribute value and beauty to the world around us”.

Mkele, a humble man, clearly underestimated how inspiring his efforts were especially considering health issues that he had to work through on top of the obvious challenges. 
“Dan’s determination and eagerness to complete this artwork is a testament to the human spirit and echoes the motivation behind One Land Love It which is that as individuals we cannot sit back and throw up our hands in helplessness.  We need to step up and move from caring to doing.”

Anyone wanting to find out more about:
One Land Love It can visit their webpage at
Cheshire Homes Summerstrand

 May 20, 2018
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Nikki Bolton

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