Sabelo Mlangeni was born in 1980 in Driefontein, South Africa, and currently lives and works in Johannesburg. Describing himself as a “camera man,” he is engaged with the documentary tradition and produces visual essays. Mlangeni engages with elements of reality and daily life that would generally be unnoticed or forgotten in today’s fast-moving society, as these details often reveal poignant aspects of South African social and political issues. He typically spends long periods of time in overlooked subcultures and communities, staying with or nearby his subjects to gain an intimate view of them and their lives. He prefers to work on medium- or long-term projects, as this allows him to develop close relationships with the people he portrays and have a better sense of the spaces he interacts with visually.
Mlangeni has participated in exhibitions at Akademie der bildenden Kunste Wien, Vienna, Austria (2014), MuseuMAfricA, Johannesburg (2014), Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg (2013), the Lubumbashi Biennale, Democratic Republic of the Congo (2013), the Walther Collection, Ulm, Germany (2013 and 2011), Haus der Kunst, Munich (2013), the Liverpool Biennial (2012), the International Center of Photography, New York (2012), the 9th Rencontres de Bamako African Photography Biennial, Mali (2011), Lagos Photo Festival, Nigeria (2011), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2011), the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (2011), Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2010), and Johannesburg Art Gallery (2010). His first solo show, Invisible Women, took place at Warren Siebrits, Johannesburg, in 2007. In 2009 he won the Tollman Award for the Visual Arts. His publications include At Home / Ghost Towns (2011), Country Girls (2010), and Men Only (2009). Mlangeni graduated from the Market Photo Workshop in 2004.