News
Via University of Johannesburg Twitter.

South Africans Celebrate Legendary Artist Dr. Esther Mahlangu’s Honorary Doctoral Degree

"We may now call her Dr. Esther Mahlangu."

The legendary artist, who is known for her colorful graphics, received an honorary doctoral degree at the University of Johannesburg on Monday night.

"We recognize Esther Mahlangu for her legacy as a cultural entrepreneur, skillfully negotiating local and global worlds, and as an educator," said Professor Federico Freschi, the executive dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the university.


Mahlangu, 83, carved her own lane in the arts industry by referencing her Ndebele culture in her graphics. Her work is celebrated by South Africans and the world alike.

One of her most celebrated international accolades is the creation of the BMW Art Car, first in 1991 and again in 2017, which made her the first woman and African to ever embellish the car. She was commissioned by the automobile giant to create artwork on the BMW 525i and the 7 Series.

Below are some tweets from Mahlangu's graduation and reactions from her fans.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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