Musapindura Zuka

A Polyvalent Sculptor Who Enjoys Teaching The Art To The Youth

My story:

My name is Musapindura Zuka. I was born in 1977 in Chipinge, in the Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe, close to the border with Mozambique. In 1999 I finished my studies and moved to my uncle who was working as a chef at a famous hotel in Victoria Falls. I got a job as a barman in the same hotel where I worked seven days in and seven out. This means that I worked for seven days around the clock and then had 7 days off.

Apart from working as a chef, my uncle was an excellent and talented stone sculptor. In my week off he would take me with him and teach me my first steps into the art of sculpting. In the beginning, I focused on doing the finishing touches of the sculptures my uncle had made. As I became more and more experienced with time in the technique of stone sculpting, I started developing an interest in the art of wood sculpting as well.

The wood that we used in Victoria Falls is ironwood, which we would get from the forests alongside the Zambezi river. I love ironwood very much because of its incredible durability and strength. At the time I enjoyed carving elephants most.

After a while of doing this art and improving myself, I started to make some money with my sculptures and decided to try and make sculpting my full-time job. I first moved up and down to Namibia to find places to advertise and sell my art and later I moved to South Africa, where I met many more colleague artists.

After a while, I opened my shop in Long Street, in the City Centre of Cape Town, South Africa. Here I could sell my art as well as help some other artists from Zimbabwe sell theirs. I still travel for a few months to and from Zimbabwe whenever I get the opportunity to do so. My family still lives in Victoria Falls after all. I have a big family of four children whom all can go to school thanks to my job as an artist. It is back in Zimbabwe, my home country, where I find my creativity and peace to create my sculptures and bring them back with me to Cape Town.

One of the things that I am most proud and happy about is that I managed to teach this beautiful art to many young people. I enjoy teaching the art of sculpting to the younger generation who have just finished school, just as my uncle taught me my first steps after I finished my education. I believe that it is a good way to keep young people busy and away from the streets. In total, I have taught about twenty young people their first steps into the beautiful art of sculpting. Many of them make their livelihood with their art today.

I would like to finish off with a big message to the younger artists who are just starting. In the art of sculpting, you need to work wholeheartedly. Never give up. And who knows, one day you will be able to make a living out of the beautiful art you create.

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Image by Christine Donaldson