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Africa meets Africa wishes the great artist Esther Mahlangu many years of continued success and happiness on the recent occasion of her 81st birthday, on 11 November 2016. AmA Founder Director Helene Smuts was invited to Esther's grand birthday celebration at her home village of Mthambothini, in rural Mpumalanga.

She is seen here on a large birthday throne set up by the community, with her close friends, master beadworker Sophie Mahlangu (on her left) and pop icon Nothembi on her right. Extended family, friends and admirers flocked from all over Mpumalanga to pay her their respects.

Several large birthday cakes were presented, one of which referenced Esther's recent collaboration, along with singer John Legend, with Belvedere Vodka in the USA (see two of the cakes in a photograph above). During 2016 Belvedere Vodka launched a charity campaign to support the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa: Esther was commissioned to paint a limited edition of very large bottles of Belvedere Vodka in Ndebele style. Proceeds of the sale of these go to supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. Google Esther Mahlangu John Legend to view a most tasteful advertising campaign!

AmA has been working closely with Esther in developing classroom learning materials which integrate Creative Arts, Mathematics and History learning as implementation project to its resource Ndebele Women designing Identity. The South African National Arts Council, led by visionary CEO Rosemary Mangope, is partnering with AmA in the new year to pilot these materials. We look forward to great things in 2017!

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