Photo credit: Mulalo Nego Negondeni

My love for Jozi and its quirky uniqueness always draws me to wonderful stories like this one, and these are the kind of stories I want to keep telling and sharing.

A remarkably talented young man, 26-Year-old Mulalo ‘Nego’ Negondeni from Mukula Village Limpopo has built a mini Nego City, modelled on Jozi and one of its architectural jewels, the FNB stadium.

Mulalo has caught the attention of the international community with his unique, innovative art creation, Nego City, and was recently interviewed by the US-based Interesting Engineering publisher (IE).  Mulalo told IE the story behind his unique Nego City creation.  The miniature city features a replica of the FNB Stadium built during the preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Mulalo said that he first saw the impressive stadium on TV and wanted desperately to go visit it. Unfortunately, his family could not afford the ticket.

But Mulalo’s creative spirit inspired him to build a mini-city in his backyard. His initial plan was to build a replica of the stadium in his back yard. From there on, a whole city started to slowly emerge. At first, he used mud mixed with water but as his city started to grow, so did his creativity. He then began to use cement, soil, and waste materials such as wires, plastics, cardboard, and fabric.

Nego City

Photo: Mulalo Nego Nondeni

The new materials not only made his city livelier, but they were also meant to send a message about recycling and re-using waste.

“I’m trying to send a message out there all over the world that we must re-use waste materials instead of throwing everything away,” Mulalo told IE. “Artists can use waste materials to create beautiful pieces especially here in Africa.”

It took Mulalo 12 years to build his city. This is because he was not satisfied with the first versions and kept destroying and rebuilding the city’s structures.

However, by 2018, he had a design that was 80% complete. Mulalo also explained that he still wants to add some new structures to his never-ending city but he is limited by space.

Nego City

Photo: Mulalo Nego Nondeni

The mini Nego City gives an artistic nod to some of Jozi’s most distinctive architecture, like the Nelson Mandela Bridge and the Telkom (Hillbrow) Tower.

My thoughts are that this young man has a bright future ahead of him in the arts and creative industry. A distinctive art installation like this should be featured in public art spaces like Maboneng or the Keyes Art Mile. An ideal opportunity for SA corporates to invest in this young entrepreneurial artist.

Mulalo’s incredible talent and his unique work of art bear testament to the irrepressible human spirit, that always has a way of shining through, meeting life’s challenges head-on, and spurring us on to do great things.


Sources: Mulalo Nego Nondeni,



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