Renowned artist, Dr Esther Mahlangu is set to receive the award of Officer in the French Order of Arts and Letters at a special celebration that coincides with the local Bastille day celebrations at the French Residence.
The award will be presented on behalf of the French Minister of Culture during the celebrations in Pretoria today.
The award recognises artists for their significant contribution to the enrichment of the arts and literature in France and abroad.
Known as the country’s national treasure for her incredible work, Mahlangu joins a list of other South African recipients which includes Johnny Clegg, Gregory Maqoma and Zanele Muholi.
To celebrate this incredible milestone, we’ve listed seven things you probably didn’t know about the award-winning artist.
1. She learnt how to paint when she was nine
Mahlangu was taught how to paint by her mother and grandmother. The artist started perfecting her craft using traditional soil paint from the forests and by the rivers. By the time she was a teen she was an expert at executing murals using a wide range of paint colours.
2. Mahlangu was the first person to transfer the traditional Ndebele style of mural painting to canvas
Painting on a mural is an ancient traditional practice in the Ndebele culture but Mahlangu is a trailblazer when it comes to transferring the mural paintings on to canvas.