William Kentridge graduated from the University of Witwatersrand in 1976 with majors in Politics and African Studies. From 1976 to 1978, he studied at the Johannesburg Art Foundation, where he taught etching for two years, thereafter. From 1981 to 1982, Kentridge attended the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris, where he studied mime and theatre.
In 2000, Kentridge went to 107 Workshop in Wiltshire, England to work on large format etchings, which reflected a procession of figures that he had created for casting in bronze. The figures move in a circular procession within a large etched circle. For each of the images, Kent worked on large copper plates, using the traditional intaglio processes of drypoint, aquatint and etching. He then added maps from an atlas into the large circles with a letterpress plates.
Kentridge had his first one-person exhibition in 1979 and he continued to exhibit his prints and drawings throughout the 1980s. His work was featured in Art from South Africa at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, England in 1990, the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993 and the first Johannesburg Biennale in 1995. In October of 2003, William Kentridge was chosen as the recipient of the Goslar Kaisserring Award, a prestigious art prize which has been annually in the medieval town of Goslar, Germany since 1975.