Artists We Love: Madoda Fani

PORTRAIT Ginger Mahlamvu PHOTO Felix Shumba WORDS Debbie Loots


Madoda Fani’s clay pots can move people to tears – literally! Once, an American buyer of two of his works started to cry when one broke. Maybe she knew just how busy this Cape Town-born, Jozi-based ceramicist is and how long it takes him to craft and painstakingly decorate each pot in his signature style.

As if that’s not enough of a workload, Madoda also facilitates workshops for the Light from Africa Foundation and takes part in exhibitions like the Joburg Art Fair, 100 % Design South Africa and Design Miami.

We simply had to find out more about the man whose pots have collectors around the globe queuing.

How did you get into ceramics?

After I finished school I worked as a painter of ceramics at the Potter’s Shop in Cape Town. Later, I entered a few exhibitions, and when people started appreciating my work, ceramics became my passion.

What inspires you?

Nature. I love plants, insects and animals. The shapes I see in everything around me also inspire me.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

In 2000, I was invited to Le Salon International de l’Artisanat de Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, where I was awarded second prize for one of my works. I haven’t looked back since.

What are you working on now?

A new range of modern vessels inspired by traditional beer pots.

What makes your work special?

The amount of time I spend crafting each pot. They are carefully decorated, each detail carved by hand from start to finish.

Do you have a dream?

Yes! I would love to create work for young people from various backgrounds and be a role model.

Prices range from R4 500 for a small (37–40 cm) pot to R10 000 for a medium-sized (47–50 cm) pot.