The painting, crafted by Mrs. Sophie "NoSinki" Mahlangu, a distinguished Ndebele art custodian and her team, stands as a testament to UMP's dedication to preserving cultural heritage and languages.
Mrs. Mahlangu conveyed her appreciation to the University Management for warmly receiving her contribution. "I am deeply thankful to the University for the invaluable work you do, providing our children with opportunities for higher education. This is my modest offering to you. May you continue to strive towards establishing an institution that cherishes our heritage," she remarked.
UMP Vice-Chancellor, Professor Thoko Mayekiso, expressed her gratitude towards Mrs. Mahlangu and her team for their generous gesture. "This artwork reinforces our African identity as the University of Mpumalanga in our mission to be a leading African University, creating avenues for sustainable development through innovation. It signifies our commitment to honour and promotes our African identity," she emphasised.
Professor Mayekiso further recalled the genesis of this collaboration, dating back to when UMP's IsiNdebele Lecturer, Dr. Monica Bhuda, was presented with an isiNdebele traditional garment and two pictures that now grace the Vice-Chancellor's office.
The newly constructed main entrance to the Mbombela Campus.
"The art you have crafted here will serve as a constant reminder, every time we pass through this gate, that we are stepping into Africa. We will be reminded that we are entering a university that reveres our African identity, a university that recognises our significance in the world. This is why this painting holds such immense importance, for it is intertwined with our pioneering journey," Professor Mayekiso underlined.
She added, "We have confidence that our collaboration will endure, and we believe that this will not be the last time you grace our university with your presence."
Dr. Paul Maminza, UMP's Dean of Students, contributed, "As we drive through this gate, we are met with a vivid reflection of our Africanness. This gift encapsulates the essence of Africanness within our university. We extend our deepest gratitude for the extraordinary effort and dedication invested in this painting."
The event culminated in the official unveiling of the artistic mural painting with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
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Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures @ChrisplPhoto.