29/05/2018 17:12 SAST | Updated 29/05/2018 17:12 SAST

Durban Artist Wants To Open SA's First Wax Museum

Watch out, Madame Tussaud's – Monsieur Gumede has some big ambitions...


Lungelo Gumede is a young artist from Durban who has his sights set on pioneering the first wax museum in South Africa.

"We have been working towards [opening a museum], trying to get space in Durban," Gumede told HuffPost on Tuesday.

The artist has been trailblazing on social media with his impressive wax structures of politicians like President Cyril Ramaphosa and U.S. music icon Michael Jackson.

He says his inspiration stems from the acclaimed Madame Tussauds Museums, which began in London but are now established in 17 cities around the world, including New York.

"It was me seeing and identifying the need for the wax museum after I went to New York and I visited [Madame Tussauds]. When I came back to South Africa, I saw the need to start the same thing," the sculptor said.

It has not, however, been an easy road for him — he says making the sculptures is quite costly.

"It has been hard; we haven't received any funding from the government yet. What we normally do, we normally use my own income from selling off my work, then I invest my money back into my business," he explained.

After deciding whom he would like to sculpt in wax, he collects as many pictures and videos of the subject, so that he is able to make the most accurate figure possible. If the person is alive, he prefers to take pictures and measurements.

He says his next wax figure will be of former U.S. president Barack Obama. The statesman will be in the country to deliver a lecture to commemorate Nelson Mandela Centenary in July.