In a world where tradition is slowly starting to fade away, Mama Esther Mahlangu has preserved the breath-taking art of Ndebele wall painting for well over 70 years. This heritage month, Auto & General would like to pay homage to the experiences of Esther Mahlangu, the first woman commissioned to create a BMW art car. This marvellous achievement makes her the only African woman to collaborate with the car brand thus far.
She began her painting journey at the age of 10 after she underwent the traditional Ndebele practice in which young women are cloistered from society for a few months and taught the traditional craft of beadwork and mural paintings. Since then, Mahlangu has become an expert and authority figure in the execution of this art form, which was traditionally only done by women on special occasions.
In the past, this form of painting was only done on the outer walls of houses but Mahlangu is one of the first artists to transfer these traditional designs to canvas, shoes, sculptures, ceramics and other modern mediums, making her a pioneering Ndebele artist and showing that adapting to change is an essential skill in the art world. Despite the varied canvases she paints on; she still paints freehand without prior measurement or sketches, and she still uses feathers and bundles of twigs as brushes, the old-school way.
Mahlangu’s quote above reminds us to stay true to our roots, culture and heritage while embracing new and modern technology. At Auto & General, we strive to always keep our core company values close to heart while still staying true to the beliefs that have moulded us into one of the industry leaders.
To affirm our footing as a formidable leader in South Africa's competitive insurance industry, here are 5 core values that have shaped us into the strong force that we are today:
1. We are passionate
Passion for what we do is our biggest motivation. The more we hone our customer service skills, the more pleasurable our customers’ experiences with us will be.
2. We are authentic
We have created an authentic culture which our employees live by daily. We didn’t just write a mission statement, we started living it from the very beginning. We didn’t just say what our core beliefs were, we started abiding by them from the day we established our business.
3. We care about what you care about
At Auto & General, we’ve learned from experience that a customer-centric approach is vital. We never lose focus of your needs as a customer, and this helps us ensure that we meet those needs as quickly and efficiently as possible.
4. We are forward-thinking
Auto & General has always been a trend-setter in the short-term insurance industry. A great example of this is our launch of paperless insurance in 1986 when the trend was unheard of in our line of work.
5. We hold ourselves accountable
We strive to remain rooted in our true brand purpose and why we started our business in the first place. Our goal is to help real people, to provide solutions to everyday problems, and to make the lives of our customers easier.
Just like Mama Esther, we at Auto & General believe that having the right foundation and staying true to what you believe in will result in unsurmountable success in the long run. In staying true to our core values, we are continually improving on our service offerings through the lessons we have learned over the past 32 years in the industry. We understand the landscape and have tailored our products and offerings to suit everyday South Africans as well as businesses. And because we value the power of experience, we also recognise those who used their experience to reach the pinnacle of their field. Find out more about what experience looks like to us here.