In South Africa, during apartheid, men from rural areas journeyed to the cities in search of work. Hoping to impress the families they left behind, the men would often buy stylish new suits for their visits back home, and practice looking slick for their friends and neighbours. From this the Swenkas evolved. They would meet on a regular basis for competitions in which they would see who could put together the best-looking outfit, and who knew how to move best in it. The men follow certain set values, such as physical cleanliness, sobriety and above all self-respect. It is from this that Banbo Sibiya draws his inspiration.
Sibiya studied art at the Benoni Technical college and then went to study at the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg. In 2012 he won the Gerard Sekoto award and an artist residency at the Cité des Arts in Paris. It was during this residency that Atelier le Grand Village edited its’ first series of Sibiya’s stone lithographs on the theme of the Swenkas. He has been a frequent visitor to the studio since.