Meet Dr Esther Mahlangu | KAYA FM

Meet Dr Esther Mahlangu

10 Apr 2018 ARTS & CULTURE

Dr. Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu receives an honorary Doctorate from the University of Johannesburg

In a moving ceremony filled with ululation and praise singing, prominent artist Esther Mahlangu was honoured last night at the University of Johannesburg. The honorary doctorate comes a time the country continues to cry foul over the lack of honouring people such as Mama Winnie MadikizelaMandela while they are still alive. Professor Federico Freschi, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at UJ said:

“With this honorary doctorate, we recognise Esther Mahlangu for her legacy as a cultural entrepreneur, skillfully negotiating local and global worlds, and as an educator. Indeed, as a visionary individual, she traverses what to others are insurmountable political barriers. From now on it is Dr. Mahlangu!”


A proudly South African artist, Dr. Mahlangu began painting at the age of 10 after her mother and grandmother, in accordance with tradition, began to teach her the art of Ndebele homestead wall painting and beadwork. In her decades-long career Mahlangu has taken her paintings to the world and continues to fly the South African flag high. The 82-year-old’s art patterns in her clothing and jewelry are colorful odes to the Ndebele people. Her work has been celebrated across the world

Upon accepting the honorary doctorate Dr Esther Mahlangu said:

“Through my art, I have seen the world. In turn, the world learned about my Ndebele heritage. I speak isiNdebele, I walk isiNdebele and I wear isiNdebele – it is my culture. I am humbled and honoured to receive this prestigious accolade for keeping my culture alive for the generation to come after me.”