Painting from the heart ... that’s Esther Mahlangu’s secret to ...

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Painting from the heart ... that’s Esther Mahlangu’s secret to success

The world-renowned artist who recently celebrated her 85th birthday is as passionate and productive as ever

Dr Esther Mahlangu embodies the Zulu proverb, Isinamuva liyabukwa, which loosely translates into, “the late bloomer is the one you look out for”.  

It’s a Tuesday afternoon, the eve of Mahlangu’s 85th birthday. The rain pounds relentlessly onto the street in Ga-Mapogo village in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga, where two goats run past a wall painted in bright colours; the wall to Mahlangu's homestead.

We have to wait while she puts on her famous Ndebele outfit for the photo shoot. She finally ascends from the main house, draped in a brightly beaded blanket, pure leather apron and Isigolwani (beaded hoops worn on feet and neck). ..

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