Kumalo's career began in 1952 in informal art classes organized by Cecil Skotnes at the Polly Street Art Center in Johannesburg, where Kumalo was later to teach.
Recognizing his potential as a sculptor, Skotnes encouraged him to model in clay and negotiated his first commission, for ceiling decorations and reliefs in St Peter Claver, Kroonstad (1958). Kumalo also gained important professional experience working with Edoardo Villa in the late 1950s.
In 1956 he met the German connoisseur and gallery owner Egon Guenther, who promoted his work by financing casting and by organizing Kumalo's first one-man exhibition at his gallery in Johannesburg in 1962, and exhibitions abroad thereafter.
In 1963 Guenther a
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