Retrospective ‘pays homage to Esther Mahlangu’s unique approach to art’

A retrospective celebrating the life and work of Esther Mahlangu follows the 88-year-old painter and mural artist’s unusual trajectory from rural South Africa to global acclaim. After Cape Town, it will be taken on an international tour.

25 February 2024 - 00:02

If you started at the end of the recently launched and impressive retrospective celebrating the life and work of Dr Esther Mahlangu, known respectfully as Mam’ Esther, you’d encounter a weather-beaten sign painted by the internationally acclaimed artist: “Ndebele Art School for Children: Done by Esther Mahlangu, THE 1st LADY TO VISIT OVER SEA (sic)”. Until it was moved to the current exhibition at The Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, the sign had stood outside Mam’ Esther’s home, a Ndebele village in the tiny rural community of Weltevreden — old Afrikaans for “satisfied” — in the KwaMhlanga region of Mpumalanga, a three-hour drive from Joburg...

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