Dr Esther Mahlangu receives honorary doctorate

Dr Esther Mahlangu was conferred with a honorary doctorate by the University of South Africa for her mathematical prowess.

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (Honoris Causa) was awarded at a graduation ceremony was held at the Unisa Muckleneuk Campus in Pretoria on Tuesday, April 16.

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The self-taught artist with no academic qualifications, is known for her bold, large-scale contemporary paintings that reference her Ndebele heritage. She has not only created original and innovative artworks reflecting this heritage. She also shares her knowledge and skills with the younger generation and wider public. The artist has established an art school in her home village, where she teaches the traditional Ndebele style of painting and beadwork to both children and adults.

In awarding her an honorary doctorate in Mathematics, Unisa affirms the notion that Mahlangu’s work truly transcends art. Speaking at the opening of the 2024 Autumn Graduation season, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Puleng LenkaBula said: “Here at Unisa we recognise Dr Mahlangu’s work as something that transcends art. It is our firm conviction that her work is a form of mathematics and should thus be recognised as such. As an African university, we have a responsibility to recognise and affirm our Indigenous knowledge systems and to ensure that they do not play second fiddle to other knowledge systems in the world.”

Source: Unisa

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