She paints with a feather, not a paintbrush. She has been doing this since the age of 10 years old. Now, 82 years old, she is still painting and last week I got to witness her present a Masterclass to learners at the National School of Arts in Braamfontein. It was such a privilege to be in the presence of a globally recognised artist, none other than Dr. Esther Mahlangu, celebrating South African heritage with Tiger Brands. Dr. Esther Mahlangu has created many pieces of beautiful art, using a chicken feather which she paints with, in Ndebele tradition.
To celebrate Heritage month this year, Dr. Esther Mahlangu, a living legend, together with South African icon brands, Tastic Rice and Albany bread, joined forces. Dr. Mahlangu presented Tiger Brands with a selection of designs to be used for the Albany bread and Tastic rice packaging for this campaign.
Celebrating South African Heritage – WIN with Tiger Brands
So why am I even sharing this with you, my dear readers? Well, I think that the connection made between food and art was firstly a great idea. Secondly, I think it can serve as inspiration and motivation to love, respect and nurture your heritage. Thirdly, there is a giveaway, details at the bottom of this post. Finally, if you haven’t already entered the Albany bread competition as yet, here are the details, you still have time to enter:
The Albany campaign runs from 1 September to 30 September 2018. There are instant prizes and a R5000 cash prize daily. Just purchase two Albany Superior loaves, send the unique code to the USSD number provided on the pack and stand a chance to win.
Regardless of where you come from, if you have a passion for something, you can achieve it…even if it means using a simple item like a feather to create art, instead of a paintbrush. The end result depends on the depth of your imagination.
Celebrating South African Heritage with Tiger Brands – brings back memories
Many years ago, I worked for BMW South Africa and I was one of the leads of the BMW S.E.E.D. (School Environmental Educational Development) Programme, which was launched then; it was one of their CSI projects. I used to visit various schools nationally, to coach and mentor them to use natural resources within their environment to develop and sustain a living by making money (raising funds) by recycling and planting vegetation etc. toward the upliftment of the community.
To this very day, I can say that I am still in awe of what I saw and experienced in those schools. Many of them were in rural areas, some didn’t even have access to running water at the time, but they recycled goods which they created some of the most beautiful and original art with. I recall a truckload of nut shells delivered to one of the schools and with that, they created a pathway, getting rid of the loose sand that caused mud and puddles on rainy days. They used old tyres and used bottles to beautify gardens. Almost anything and everything that could be recycled, which they had at their disposal, was used, creatively and beautifully so.
This was part of their heritage, from the pots they made and the various items they created. They were poverty-stricken communities, yet they made the most of what they had, through passion and determination. They were able to sell their fresh produce to the struggling community at a low price, helping with nutritional needs. They were able to raise funds from profits and build facilities within the schools.
This partnership between Tiger Brands and Dr. Mahlangu has brought back fond memories of how those schools I worked with then, flourished from strength to strength. How they literally flourished and provided nourishment from nothing but a seed…it’s significant of the fact that as South Africans, we can adopt a spirit of cohesiveness and get together in our communities to create more awareness of our heritage and to furthermore use it to create employment, amongst many other needs.
FYI – Dr. Esther Mahlangu was also the first woman to create artwork on a BMW 525i Sedan – she was commissioned by BMW again, to refine a BMW 7 series, which was later on display at the Frieze Art Fair in London in 2016 – read more here.
Celebrating South African Heritage with Tiger Brands & Dr. Esther Mahlangu – Be inspired
It also emphasizes that as a nation, we have many natural resources and talents which have not been unleashed – sometimes we need a reminder on the packaging of a loaf of bread or a packet of rice, to remind us of creativity. To create a spark to tap into our sense of imagination.
I’m not suggesting you all go out and paint in Ndebele tradition, nope, not at all. Instead, look at the packaging and be inspired by the art and the success behind it. Create your own story, make your mark in history, don’t be afraid to be creative. Don’t be afraid to share your heritage in your creativity.
If you are a parent, during dinner time, point out to the packaging and share the story of Dr. Esther Mahlangu with your children. Challenge them to come up with something creative that reminds them of South African Heritage. Whether they paint, draw or use beads or other items to express their creativity, doesn’t matter – all that matters is that they have ample opportunities to express their creativity and to be aware of their heritage.
If they need some guidance, help them through a story to lead them in the right direction. You will be amazed at what they may come up with up. This is a great way to make them spend less time with technological devices. It doesn’t have to cost anything if you ask them to use items within the household. Not all children will be academically inclined, so don’t expect all of them to be Doctors and Lawyers. There will be those who may be artistic, allow them the freedom to express their themselves through their creativity.
Look at Dr. Esther Mahlangu as an example – world renowned for her art – who knows what your child may be recognised for in the future? Even though I didn’t understand the language during the Masterclass last week, I was in awe of her spirit at 82 years! She had the entire audience engaged and in laughter with her responses, which was later translated to us.
Here are some photos of the Master Class event last week:
Although we celebrate Heritage Day in September every year, it would be wonderful if we seek opportunities to create awareness throughout the year and not just in September. We have differences and it’s in our differences that we find our strengths, with each having something different to offer.
Embrace diversity, embrace your heritage, don’t feel bad because you’re different or that your culture doesn’t resonate with everyone. It’s wonderful that tourists visit our beautiful country and have such lovely things to say about our culture, yet, sadly, as South Africans, not all of us appreciate our own heritage. It’s sadly easier for many to share posts about crime than about empowerment or other success stories.
So whether you’re a parent, teacher, designer, photographer or singer, you and every single one of us have opportunities to embrace our heritage, be it through a song, through dance, through food, through art or whatever…we are so rich with diversity that there is something for everyone to feel an inclination toward his/or her heritage.
To celebrate and embrace Heritage month, I have partnered with Tiger Brands to giveaway 1 of 5 Heritage Hampers valued at R500 each!
Hamper consists of:
- a limited edition Dr. Esther Mahlangu shopper bag
- an Albany breadboard
- Albany cap
- Tastic apron and
- an Albany bread voucher
may also include other Tiger Brands products subject to availability
To stand a chance to win, simply respond to the following in the comments below:
Share something about your heritage to educate/create awareness for others.
e.g. Did you know that Zulus do…..because….and the significance is…
e.g. Did you know that Hindus fast in this month because…….and the reason for this is…
It can be anything related to South Africa and it’s heritage.
T’s and C’s
- Open to residents within Gauteng only
- The prize is not transferable nor exchangeable for cash
- Competition ends at midnight on the 30th of September 2018
When sharing this post on social media, please use the following hashtags:
#LOVEYOURHERITAGE #CELEBRATEYOURHERITAGE #PEANUTGALLERY247