Renowned for her iconic Ndebele patterns, South African artist Esther Mahlangu was beaten, strangled and robbed at gunpoint this weekend.
Mpumalanga police launched a manhunt for the perpetrators after the 86-year-old Dr Mahlangu was robbed of her firearm and an undisclosed amount of cash.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Manamela said the robbery took place on Saturday afternoon.
“Details of the robbery indicate that on the said day, the old woman, who was alone at the time, was preparing to take a nap [after] she reportedly locked all [the] doors of her house. Strangely, she noticed a man unknown to her inside the house.
“The man allegedly grabbed her and punched her in the face, before tying both her hands with a cable, and tried to strangle her until she reportedly became unconscious,” Manamela said.
Dr Mahlangu is said to have been unable to remember what occurred after she was beaten until she was unconscious.
When she regained consciousness, she realised that her home had been looted and her firearm had been stolen from her safe, along with some cash.
The legendary artist suffered several bruises to her face after the attack.
“It is shameful to hear that our senior citizens are now being targeted by heartless criminals who show no mercy. On Sunday, we had an incident where an old male pensioner was strangled to death in Delmas,” Manamela added.
“This cannot be allowed to continue unabated. The person who committed this evil act against one of the country’s assets must be swiftly hunted down and be brought to book.”
Mahlangu received the award of Officer in the French Order of Arts and Letters at a special celebration hosted in France 2019.
Image source: @KarynMaughan