Date:21 January 2019 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Every generation is represented by its finest specimens and now, when one delves into the wood-carving art at Mbhokota village, it becomes evident that the art of the new generation is founded upon the previous generation of those who walked the path before them.
This village has produced great sculptors such as the late Jackson Hlungwani who popularised the wood-carving art in the area. He went on to travel internationally and make a name for himself, earning a living from his art in the process.
Today, Lucky Ntimani and Jabulani Patrick Manyike are among the finest, most prolific sculptors to ever come out of Mbhokota village. Their art is amazing and challenges the viewer to engage with it.
A seasoned sculptor in his own right, Lucky Ntimani works from his studio at Mbhokota village, where he has created a wide-ranging wood-carving collection. He is a creator of masterpieces that have had international visitors flock to his studio.
“I was born with this talent, and I had to quit a full-time job in Gauteng to come back to pursue my first love of being an artist who hews the wood,” he said.
Ntimani finds peace of mind in mixing his sculpturing talent with horticulture and flower gardening at the small yard that houses his one-room gallery. His studio-cum-gallery, though, is adorned with eye-catching creations crafted from different kinds of wood.
“To me, art is life,” he shares. “I do not craft my sculptures for the aim of gaining money. I dream and wake up to create. I take inspiration from my mentor, Mr Thomas Kubayi, who is a local, internationally acclaimed sculptor in his own right.”
Meanwhile, Jabulani Patrick Manyike's art resonates with the kind of freshness that makes it unique. He ascribes his inspiration to the late Jackson Hlungwani. However, he continues to get mentorship from Thomas Kubayi.
His one-room shelter is perched on a hill, near the Ritavi and Musapa river. Looking at his mud shelter, which serves as his house and studio, many cannot imagine that enviable art works are created inside this shelter.
“I love wood, and my life is wood,” Manyike says. “I use dead wood that I collect from the wilderness to craft my creations. To me, art is wood. I can fashion a piece of dead wood into all kinds of artefacts that I want.”
Ntimani and Manyike are only some of the many wood carvers from Mbhokota village, where wood carving takes centre stage among other art forms. They can be reached on 063 720 3114 (Ntimani) and 072 587 3252 (Manyike).
Lucky Ntimani busy at work.
By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.