Who are Mgcineni Sobopha and Michael Barry?

Michael Barry worked closely with Mgcineni Sobopha on the memorial to the Bulhoek Massacre.
Michael Barry worked closely with Mgcineni Sobopha on the memorial to the Bulhoek Massacre.
Picture courtesy of Michael Barry.

Mgcineni "Pro" Sobopha and Michael Barry are professional artists. Sobopha lives in Alice, where he lectures in history of art at the University of Fort Hare. Barry, who lives in Port Elizabeth, is the Eastern Cape arts project manager for the Sunday Times Heritage Project and regional manager for Business and Arts South Africa.

Sobopha was born in Engcobo, Transkei, in 1967. He obtained a BA (Fine Art) in 1998 from the University of Cape Town and a Masters in Fine Art in 2001. While studying he worked with various community arts and teaching programmes, including acting as a facilitator for a children's stories mural - a Truth and Reconciliation Commission project at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town in 1998.

A series of his work has explored the Xhosa male circumcision ritual, ulwaluko, and his work often incorporates unconventional materials such as sheepskin, blankets and cow dung.

Sobopha has received several grants and scholarships, including a National Arts Council bursary. He has lectured in drawing at UCT's department of architecture and has been involved in several conferences and seminars on the politics of art, representation and images of masculinity in Cape Town.

Barry has assisted a number of artists working on the Sunday Times Heritage Project with technical drawings. For the Bulhoek Massacre story, he worked closely with Sobopha on the creative development of the concept, as well as the making and installation of the artwork.



back to the Enoch Mgijima memorial page

"You take your orders from the government. I take mine from Jehovah."
Enoch Mgijima
Captured Israelites, 1921
Picture © Museum Africa


Historical documents: Clues to a terrible tragedy

In this lesson plan, learners are encouraged, through their study of historical documents, to explore the reasons for a religious group risking their lives to defy General Smuts's government in 1921. Learners will also be asked to think about why the government and its police used violent force against the so-called Israelites.

Lesson plan
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Archive Photo Gallery
A selection of photographs of the Bulhoek Massacre, courtesy of Museum Africa.
Artwork Photo Gallery
Photographs of the memorial and Church of God and Saints of Christ congregants, taken at an unveiling ceremony.
The Bulhoek Massacre part 1
Extract from a documentary on the Bulhoek Massacre, focusing on the controversy over the number of casualties
The Bulhoek Massacre part 2
In the decades since the Massacre, the church has grown in strength, and today has chapters throughout Eastern Cape