#KaraboPoppyMoletsane is a South African illustrator, graphic designer, and street artist.

Born in a mining town in South Africa with underfunded high schools that didn’t offer art as a subject to study, Karabo found a school further afield to discover her creative calling. After being encouraged to pursue art, the next challenge was telling her parents. “It was really frowned upon,” she says.

“They didn’t see it as bringing honour to our family. My parents wanted me to become a doctor, and for a long time, I did too, because I’d never seen someone from my background, who looked like me, turn art into a career. It was always something for people in big cities… actually, white people in big cities. It was always a source of tension.”

It was at universtity where she discovered digital art, “I came from a traditional art background, and seeing people use technology to tell stories really captivated me.” While the creative world opened up to her, she noticed there were still a lot of other barriers to knock down: being one of nine people of colour in a student population of around 600, learning a syllabus that was woefully skewed. “We weren’t seeing an African narrative being taught or explored, or even encouraged,” she says. “In the textbooks, there was traditional and primitive African art, nothing contemporary, or in the context of advertising or digitisation.”

Now, Karabo has worked with brands such as Google, Nike and Netflix, creating the graphics for the first African series on Netflix, ‘Queen Sono’, and ‘When They See Us.’ She was also listed on Forbes “30 Under 30” list in the 2019 creatives category.