Tragic rugby accident sees player becoming a mouth artist

Tragic rugby accident sees player becoming a mouth artist

- Daniel Mkele was a passionate Storm Breakers player

- He was tragically injured at a match in Port Elizabeth 20 years ago

- He is now confined to a wheelchair without any real use of his hands

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When Daniel Mkele started his rugby career, he didn’t foresee how it would end.

Mkele was injured in a match in Port Elizabeth 20 years ago. He is now wheelchair bound and has next to no use of his hand. This accident was a defining moment for the ex-rugby player.

He could have allowed the accident to stop him from ever doing anything again. He could have allowed it to get the better of him, but he didn’t.

Instead, he chose a completely different path and learned to paint… with his mouth.

Now 52-years-old Mkela lives at the Cheshire Homes in Summerstrand and has become somewhat of a brilliant painter.

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A new passion for painting

Painting was not something he always wanted to do, and, in fact, he only started painting after Ian Shaw, a watercolor painter, started with art classes at the home fifteen years ago. The artist first taught himself how to paint with his mouth so that he could teach Mkele and another resident how to do the same.

This ex-rugby player, now a painter, is passionate about art and says painting has given him a renewed purpose.

Kevin Hustler, of the Strategic Development Projects at Nelson Mandela University Business School, was so impressed with Mkele’s art that he commissioned him to paint a piece specifically for Wayne Bolton.

“I wanted to give him this piece of unique art as a gift to acknowledge the journey he has traveled so far and thank him for his contribution to rhino conservation.”

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Last year, Wayne Bolton cycled over 800km in a fundraising initiative aimed at raising awareness for anti-poaching initiatives.

Hustler believes the painting, completed by Mkele, of a Rhino, was a fitting gift and was one that represented a journey of two men who both demonstrated the idea that where a mind leads, a body should follow.

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