Department launches books about Noria Mabasa and Dr Esther Mahlangu

Noria Mabasa and Dr Esther Mahlangu

JOBURG – The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture honours sculptor Noria Mabasa with a launch of a book about her journey.


Talking in her native Tshivenda language, Noria Mabasa recalled how she started her art as a sculptor in a rural village of Limpopo.


The book about the life of an 81-year-old sculptor was launched on Thursday, 1 August at Constitution Hill by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture simultaneously with the activation of Women’s Month.


A thankful and honoured Mabaso uses dead wood and clay to create artworks.


She also uses her art to raise awareness about social issues in Africa, access to education and gender-based violence issues.

She recalled that most people couldn’t believe how her art started. “You won’t believe it at all, art is like dust, you need a keen eye to appreciate its value,” she said.


Mabasa subsequently started her art after nine years of being sick. At the time she had recurring dreams about rivers, tree trunks and images that asked to come from inside the tree trunks.

She would wake up, collect wood, carve sculptures, and then give them away. She said while crafting her art she gradually healed from her nine years of illness.


Living in abject poverty, her ancestors came to her through her dreams and told her that art was her source of income that could help her raise her children.


“Back in 1974 people used to laugh at me when I was selling my sculptures at Tshilidzini Hospital in Venda,” she said.

She continued selling her sculptures and she was finally able to build a home and provide for her children. She has since travelled the world and owns a sculpture garden in Limpopo.


Mabasa also insisted that the government should help artists like her to impart their knowledge to the next generation before she dies.


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11 Aug 2019