Nobukho Nqaba was born in 1992 in Butterworth located in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. At the age six, she and her family moved to Grabouw in the Western Cape and later attended Luhlaza High School in Cape Town.
Nqaba graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) in 2012. In the same year she was awarded the Tierney Fellowship, mentored by Svea Josephy and Jean Brundrit. Nqaba went on to complete her postgraduate diploma in teaching (also at UCT).
“Umaskhenkethe” is one of many terms in the Xhosa language spoken in Southern Africa to designate those Chinese-made plastic bags ubiquitous nowadays in low-income families. Meaning literally “traveller,” it has become a global symbol for migration, voluntary or involuntary, long-distance or local. For Nobukho Nqaba, born and bred during Apartheid, these bags remind her more especially of her mother, a key figure in her life and the mainstay of the family, who, whenever she visited relations on farms in Cape Province, would bring back bags just like these bulging with homemade sweets.