Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu, known for her signature graphic murals will be be acknowledged with an honorary doctoral degree by the University of Johannesburg (U.J.) on April 9.
Professor Federico Freschi, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at U.J. sees Mahlangu as a visionary individual who traverses, what to others are, insurmountable political barriers.
"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," Freschi said in a statement.
Freschi added that Mahlangu is a living example of how authentic African knowledge systems can be articulated meaningfully and sustainably.
" In her [Esther], we have an icon worthy of being looked up to by the next generation of creatives, and the University, in particular FADA, is greatly honoured to confer the degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris causa upon her."
Mahlangu began painting as a child. At the age of ten she was taught the art of Ndebele homestead wall painting and beadwork by her mother and grandmother.
Mahlangu is the third recipient of an honorary doctorate conferred by the university following Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and world renowned economist Prof Robert Fry Engle during this year's autumn graduation season.
2018 is definitely proving to be a bumper year for Mahlangu. In February HuffPost spoke to her at the signing of her latest mural at the Nirox Foundation sculpture park in the Cradle of Humankind where she opened up about the genesis of her style, and her signature. Hers is an extraordinary story of how traditional "craft" art moved into the global "fine" art marketplace.
Market Theatre Foundation CEO @Ismaildrama along with Head of Windybrow Pan African Arts Centre Keitu Gwangwa address the masses who are at the big reveal of Gogo Esther Mahlangu mural this afternoon pic.twitter.com/CIUcy0b70t— WindybrowArtsCentre (@WindybrowCentre) February 19, 2018