Baba Tjeko’s illustrations bring the Sesotho geometric art of Litema to life

He portrays African ideas and perspectives through his Litema artwork in hopes of positive change in other young designers.

Visual artist Baba Tjeko from South Africa is best known for his Litema paintings and drawings. Litema is a form of Sotho mural art composed of decorative geometric patterns usually featuring objects from the natural world like farming fields, plants or animals.

Tjeko says the Litema design is no longer common amongst illustrators. This is why he brings it to life through his work as a way of keeping it relevant to the youth. The multi-disciplinary artist quit his government job last year to pursue his passion.

The elements shown in his work are mostly human beings filled with bold and soft Basotho patterns. He mostly works in black and white with hints of mainly blue, yellow and red in some of his pieces.

Black Model created using litema design by Baba Tjeko

Based in Parys, a small town in the Free State, Tjeko is behind a cartoon publication called The Voice, also known as The Township Voice. The aim of this publication is to convey everyday difficulties that township residents are faced with. 

In 2015, Baba came out amongst the top winners in the BBM Stickathon Art Competition where his emoticons were chosen. He is presently working on launching his career as a full-time visual artist.

Mama created using litema design by Baba Tjeko

Blues & Rhythms created using litema design as well as red and yellow framing color by Baba Tjeko

Africa & Patterns created using blue, red, yellow and black paint color.