Artist Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu receives a degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA
Artist Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu receives a degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA
Artist Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu receives a degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA
Artist Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu receives a degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA
Artist Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu receives a degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA
Artist Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu receives a degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA
UJ vice-Chancellor Prof Tshilidzi Marwala speaking at Monday's graduation ceremony at University of Johannesburg at Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA.
UJ vice-Chancellor Prof Tshilidzi Marwala speaking at Monday's graduation ceremony at University of Johannesburg at Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA.
Artist Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu receives a degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA
Artist Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu receives a degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA

Johannesburg - Renowned Ndebele artist and international icon Esther Mahlangu was on Monday hailed as a visionary individual who "broke down barriers in her own way" during a graduation ceremony held at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

UJ conferred an honorary doctorate on Mahlangu, recognising her "legacy as a cultural entrepreneur who has skillfully negotiated local and global worlds and played a major role as an educator".

Speaking of the honour, Mahlangu had earlier told The Star said she was humbled by the recognition.

“Being recognised at home is such a blessing. It shows that my people still see the great work that I do,” she said.

Also read: New York honours Esther Mahlangu

Mahlangu's work came to international attention in 1989 after her inclusion on the important exhibition Magiciens de la terre, held at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
 
As a national icon and custodian of heritage, Mahlangu has been honoured with awards and medals by government many times, and by more than one South African president.
 
She received the Order of Ikhamanga, silver class, in 2006, as well as the Mpumalanga Arts and Culture Award, an award from the French Ministry of Culture as well as two awards from Radio Ndebele among many other awards.