Emerging and self-taught local artist Bheki Khambule, 32, from Madlankala in Richards Bay, has won the acclaimed Start the Nivea Art Award and a R20000 cash prize.
Khambule automatically qualifies for a solo exhibition at the KwaZulu-Natal NSA Gallery next year.
Despite having had no formal art training Khambule has managed to notch up several achievements, including selling one of his paintings to former premier Ben Ngubane in 2003 at a show.
This is hardly surprising, considering his single-minded dedication to his art since the age of eight.
He won his first competition in Grade 9 at Hlamvana High School, and in April 2000 he was chosen to represent South Africa in New Zealand at a Youth Entrepreneurship conference in Christchurch.
"I am inspired by everyday, things and like creating pictures in bright, three-dimensional acrylic," Khambule says. "I also enjoy portraiture."
At present he has a full-time job running Vulindlela Art & Design with two friends .
He says he will use his prize money to buy art materials for his business.
He will put some of the money aside with his savings because he has a dream of buying a house for his mother.
The title of his winning artwork - Beauty Is Me - was chosen because he believes beauty is everywhere.
"Beauty is in all of us and all around us," he says.
"It is something that is not easy to define since its meaning is determined by those who are judging it.
"In pursuing this idea I have used my own portrait as a vehicle to test notions of beauty."
Second place went to Natalie Fossey of Pietermaritzburg and third was Muzikayise Ndlela from Howick.
The finalists were selected from more than 280 competition entries received from throughout the province.