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Legendary South African Artist Esther Mahlangu Just Got a Mural Dedicated to Her In NYC

Esther Mahlangu, has been honored with a new mural, commemorating her bold and bright work in New York City.

Celebrated South African contemporary artist, Esther Mahlangu, has been honored with a mural commemorating her bold and bright work in New York City.

The piece is located in Tribeca and spans across two lanes, across Franklin Street and West Broadway's Citi Bike station, reports the Huffington Post. Muralist Imani Shanklin Roberts, modeled the painting after Mahlangu's famous Ndebele symbol work, and says that the painting evokes a "feminine energy." She shared an aerial image of the piece on her Instagram page.

The mural was unveiled last week, in a partnership between South African Tourism's US office, South African Airways and Citi Bike.

"Esther Mahlangu is renowned the world over for her unique, colorful and geometric paintings which have inspired international brands and artists of many backgrounds across the globe. Her work has also done an amazing job of showcasing our cultures and will provide New Yorkers this summer with a sight of South Africa's vibrant Ndebele culture," said Bangu Masisi, president of South African Tourism's Americas Hub, during the launch.

Check out some photos of the mural below.

When I first came to New York to attend @prattinstitute in 2009 I didn't imagine that this would be a city I would have a child in, create lasting memories in, let alone have success in my artistry in. Creating a mural in honor of an artist I've known all my life, in a city that isn't welcoming to many, feels unreal. It feels like an aligning moment many of us have when the universe cocreates with us and is in agreement with our path. To you NYC,I present Xola, (Stay in Peace) --((A South African Name I named my daughter--*Alignment*))) a piece that is representative of a feminine energy force that is all encompassing, inclusive and awe-inspiring. Xola welcomes you to charge and open your divine feminine here amidst all that tries to stand against you. This is my form of resistance and protest-- my expression. #blessed -- photo credit (@ericmtownsend )) THANK YOU!!

A post shared by Imani Shanklin Roberts (@imaniniasr) on

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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