Cassirer Welz Award

2024 Award Winner
Tawanda Takura 

Announcement of the 2024 Cassirer Welz Award Winner 

Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, in collaboration with Strauss & Co. Education and Fine Art Auctioneers proudly announces Tawanda Takura as the winner of the 13th Cassirer Welz

Established in 2011 by Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer in honour of her husband Reinhold Cassirer’s passion for the arts, this award has become a distinguished recognition for
emerging local artists. Following the death of Stephan Welz, the award was renamed the Cassirer Welz Award to honour both men’s contributions to the South African art scene. 

Through its enduring partnership with Strauss Education, the Cassirer Welz Award has been instrumental in launching the careers of its recipients, helping them gain recognition in the South African art market. As the award celebrates over a decade of excellence, Bag Factory Artists’ Studios and Strauss Education continue their commitment to fostering emerging talent.

About the Award 

The 2024 call for entries included artists from several countries within the Triangle Network, such as Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia; and it is with great pride that the award this year is presented to a Zimbabwean artist.

The selection jury, which included Bag Factory Director Maria Fidel Regueros and Programmes Manager Nala Xaba, as well as Strauss & Co. Executive Director Client Advisory Khetiwe McClain and Art Specialist Arisha Maharaj, agreed that Takura stands out as an exceptional artist. His self-taught practice in found object sculpture will significantly benefit from this opportunity for both creative and professional growth.

About Tawanda Takura 

Tawanda Takura has exhibited in various group shows and some local art fairs, as well as participated in a Johannesburg based residency with the South African Foundation for Contemporary Art (SAFFCA) in 2019.

Trained as a shoemaker, Takura takes apart and expertly re-assembles old shoes which carry the traces and biographies of their owners. Sometimes combined with other found objects and texts, these new figurations carry the subtle but persistent smell of rubber and leather. Hollow, hybrid, tortured and distorted, sometimes carnivalesque. Takura describes how, at times, in earlier years, he was considered a madman, going around collecting old shoes... people would often see heaps of shoes in my house”.

Takura’s work comments on socio-political injustice, and often takes clear aim at what he sees as the extractive and hypocritical practices of charismatic churches.

This award has been made possible by Bag Factory Artists Studios and with the generous support of Strauss & Co. and funding from Business and Arts South Africa (BASA). 



Bulumko Mbete

Mpumelelo Buthelezi


Levy Pooe

Duduzile (Dudubloom) More

Olivia Botha

Richard 'Specs' Ndimande

Nompumelelo Ngoma

Keneilwe Mokoena

Thato Nhlapo

Asanda Kupa

Blessing Ngobeni

Tshepo Mosopa


“Since its inception, this award has helped the winners launch their careers and start
making a name for themselves. It recognises artistic excellence, encouraging creative
practice, and providing the supportive space and presentation platforms required by
emerging artists. This award is an important part of Strauss & Co.’s ongoing and
substantial commitment to young talent in southern Africa and on the continent – and is
a powerful example of the company’s investment in the art of the future.”

- Susie Goodman, Executive Director, Strauss & Co.

In its fourteenth year, the Cassirer Welz Award’s focus has always been on recognising artistic excellence, encouraging creative practice, and providing the supportive spaces and presentation platforms required by emerging artists.

The award acknowledges excellence in emerging artists specialising in sculpture, drawing and painting, and provides an opportunity to showcase their talents to a broader audience. The winner receives a ten-week residency at the Bag Factory, culminating in a solo exhibition of newly created work at a leading commercial art gallery or the Bag Factory Gallery. Through the exchange of ideas, mentorship and skills development, the artist has an opportunity for substantial creative and professional growth.

The Cassirer Welz Award was originally founded as the Reinhold Cassirer in 2011 by Nadine Gordimer, one of South Africa’s most celebrated authors and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, to celebrate the life and work of her late husband Reinhold Cassirer, a renowned collector and dealer. In 1968, Cassirer founded Sotheby’s, South Africa. When he retired in 1980 to pursue other interests, Stephan Welz, his key protégé, inherited the mantle.

After more than 26 years as the head of Stephan Welz & Co, Welz sold the company and founded Strauss & Co in 2009 with prominent figures from the business world, Mrs Elisabeth Bradley and Dr Conrad Strauss. Strauss & Co has since become the largest fine art auction house in South Africa. After Gordimer’s passing in 2014, Strauss & Co. pledged its support to the award – a partnership that has continued to this day. Sadly, Stephan Welz passed away in 2015. In 2016 the Reinhold Cassirer Award was renamed the Cassirer Welz Award, as a fitting tribute to the two men who had contributed so much to the South African art world.