Minority Mental Health Advocate: Nosipho Nxele


"People are going to call you crazy, but depression is not craziness." -Nosipho

Tell us about the work you do and how you got started.

My great passion is for the empowerment of women and to break stereotypes carved on them by society. This is what led me to explore mental health and the conversation around mental illness in my illustrations.

I was raised with religious values, but I have always been very opinionated about everything. My work is mostly expressionism, mental illness, religion and other topics that affect women in society. The love for what I do comes from the process of discovering how I share my stories and opinions with the world. Having studied philosophy, it seemed perfect to sync my creativity with the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, and so I landed on Surrealist illustration. Since then it has been my way of expression.

Why does minority mental health matter to you?

It matters to me because I am a minority too, who has been living with a mental health issue for years. Unfortunately, only a few of us have found ways of dealing with this sickness, and the rest us are suffering in silence because of the lack of knowledge or ignorance within our society. Minority mental health matters to me because there are still a lot of victims to be pulled out of this situation by creating awareness about this sickness. It needs to be thought of a sickness that can be treated.

What would you tell your younger self?

People are going to call you crazy, but depression is not craziness, it’s a sickness that can be treated. Do not keep anything bottled inside because it piles up to anxiety when you grow older. Do not ignore any signs of depression but if you feel anything that affects your emotions and how you see yourself, do speak to someone before you grow up as an emotional wreck.

See Nosipho's art on Instagram.