World-renowned artist Noria Mabasa from Limpopo has received an honorary doctorate in art and design from the University of Johannesburg. Mabasa has been described as one of South Africa’s living treasures and has been practising and perfecting her artistic craft as a sculptor since 1974.

But due to the circumstances in that era, her creative work remained hidden and unknown to the outside world. It was only in 1985 that the doors to the world finally opened for her.

This was during the ground-breaking BMW Tributaries Exhibition in Johannesburg, through which she later toured West Germany,

“What an auspicious occasion honouring 50 years of absolute excellency within the art space, Noria Mabasa has really been a disruptor in Western fine art,” announced UJ.

“We are pleased to witness this day where Ms Noria receives her honorary doctorate in art and design.”

Mabasa has won several national and international awards. This includes a Silver Order of the Baobab award bestowed on her in 2002.


The 85-year-old was elated with the recognition.

“I am a rural woman faced with many odds, but I managed to overcome them. I am not educated, but my ancestors equipped me with the skills to fend for myself.

World-renowned artist Noria Mabasa receives Honorary Doctorate
Noria Mabasa receives Honorary Doctorate

“I have been to many parts of the world, exhibiting my work, and the response has been phenomenal. This can only be the grace of God that picked me from nowhere and placed me into the world’s limelight,” she said.

“I am 85 years old, and it is hard for a person my age to stand up and carve wood,” added Mabasa.

“I am so motivated that I have started working on new projects and I will continue to follow my calling until God says it’s enough.”

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She also thanked the University of Johannesburg for this extraordinary honour.

Mabasa currently resides at Tshino village in the Vuwani area, Vhembe District. She also runs an art school and teaches her students the art of making clay pots and sculptures.