Stone carving centre gives work to deaf children

A professional stone carver and educator, Ronika Tandi (37), of Manyame Park Chitungwiza, founded Shungu Arts Centre last year to help provide employment for pupilsof Emerald Hills School for the Deaf.

Founder Arts Centre, Ronika Tandi, at work.
Founder Arts Centre, Ronika Tandi, at work.

Tandi looked visibly concerned about welfare of the deaf. She narrated to The Zimbabwean how she was touched by the plight of the deaf who ended up begging on the streets after receiving artistic skills at Emerald Hills.

“I joined Emerald Hills School for the deaf as a voluntary stone carving teacher 2007. I was driven by the passion to improve welfare of the deaf after I had obtained a certificate in fine arts,” she said. “The centre is temporarily based in Budiriro High density suburb of Harare. We are promoted by Fritz Meyer, from Germany and sponsored by local artists. Dominic Benhura is one of the major sponsors and provides us with raw stone.

“We promote the works in Germany by internet and also hold local exhibitions. The next one is scheduled for Domboshava in September, under the theme “Without Words”.

“Some 300 children from Emerald Hills will eventually benefit from employment provided at Shungu Arts Centre. Business is booming as the local market has overtaken foreign buyers to become the major consumer. “We mainly use Opal from Chiweshe area and Spring stone from Mvurwi and Guruve,” said the dread-locked artist.

Stone carving runs in the blood of the Tandi family. All the 11 children are stone carvers. Seven are based at Chitungwiza Art Centre. One, Maxwell, is plying his trade in Canada.

Her trade has taken her to Germany and Italy for workshops. She expressed concern at the small ratio of female artists in the country compared to that of men.

Post published in: Arts
  1. Patrick Gokwe

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