Every artist experiences the call to create at a different point in their lives. For some, a post-traumatic experience can spawn the greatest artworks in the world. Whereas for others the call comes as a child and thankfully the creativity and imagination are never lost. In the case of Dr. Esther Mahlangu, the passion to paint came at the tender age of ten years old and has remained to today.
Since then, Dr. Mahlangu has painted the Ndebele tribe onto the hearts and minds of the world over. Without necessarily seeking to become the spokesperson of Ndebele people, through appreciating her work, amaNdebele have been immortalized and written into modern history. With this knowledge in mind, it was only befitting of Scoop Makhatinito travel to KwaNdebele in order to share her story on Catching Waves.
Dressed elegantly in traditional Xhosa attire, Scoop sits down with Dr. Mahlangu about her life story, her work, and her hopes for the future. In the interview, she shares the story of how she had to defy her elders to continue sharpening her painting skills. In addition, she speaks on how she's come to engage with the Western world through corporate affiliations. Their conversation turns more personal upon mention of her late son and how she has since learned to lean on her current work partner, Isaac. However, this also sheds light on how she has taught many of the people close to her how to paint in the Ndebele style, which has since spawned the creation of an art school in her hometown.
Dr. Esther Mahlangu is not only artistically skilled, but she is also conscious of the importance of sharing the Ndebele culture with her community, country, and the world. For this reason, watch her in episode 8 of Catching Waves below!