Esther Mahlangu Protects Ndebele Artistic Heritage

by Ontlotlile Seemela

September 24th marks the date that South Africa celebrates Heritage Day. South Africa is affectionately dubbed the rainbow nation because it comprises several cultural heritages and has 11 official languages - one of the highest numbers out of any country. It is a day where people from across the country celebrate their culture in many different ways, such as wearing their cultural regalia as a badge of honour, cooking the food of their ancestors, retelling old folklore stories that were passed down by their forefathers, displaying artwork that is symbolic to their respective unique cultures, and so on.


In honour of Heritage Day, this article highlights, commemorates and applauds Dr. Esther Mahlangu, an internationally renowned artist who paints in her signature Ndebele style. Mahlangu is one of Africa’s most prominent, respected and recognised artists. Through her artwork, she has made an immeasurable contribution to the celebration of Ndebele heritage, ensuring that traditional African artwork is taken just as seriously as Western art forms.


Mam’Esther is one of the most prolific South African cultural ambassadors. Through her work she addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Sustainable Cities and Communities. As stated in an article in South Africa History, Mam’Esther is following “traditions passed down from her mother and grandmother, [from whom] she learned traditional Ndebele wall painting and beadwork as a child.”

25 Oct 2021