Mahlangu – known for her paintings closely linked to her Ndebele heritage – has grown to be one of South Africa’s most celebrated artists, gaining international recognition for her contribution to the arts fraternity, both locally and abroad.
In 2006 she was awarded The Order of Ikhamanga (Silver) by the South Afican government, which is an order issued by the president to a person for their invaluable contribution to the arts, culture, literature, journalism, music and sports fields.
The University of Johannesburg announced that it will on Monday confer the icon with an honorary doctorate recognizing her “for her legacy as a cultural entrepreneur, skillfully negotiating local and global worlds, and as an educator,” said Professor Federico Freschi, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design, and Architecture (FADA) at UJ.
After being included in the Magiciens de la Terre held in 1989 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Mahlangu grabbed the international art world’s attention. This exhibition led BMW to commission her in 1991 to lay her famous paintings on the 525i model for the BMW Art Car Series. She became not only the first woman but also the first person from Africa to do so.