Stone sculptors who spoke to The Zimbabwean last week said they faced numerous challenges in marketing their products. Limit Muchini said the decline in tourist arrivals had adversely affected their business, saying the majority of locals did not appreciate the importance of sculpture.
“Most of our clients used to be South Africans. With the multicurrency system, they say our products are now very expensive,” said Muchini, who carves the Big Five – elephant, lion, giraffe, rhino and buffalo.
Muchini said the sculptors also faced transport problems when fetching raw stone from Mashava.
“The stones we use (soapstone and serpentine) are only found in Mashava. We hire private operators and they charge us a lot of money to transport it,” he said.
Another sculptor, Henry Rambanepasi, urged the government to come up with policies that effectively attracted tourists, as a way of supporting stone sculpture.
He appealed to the government to consider the arts industry when allocating money to small- to- medium-scale businesses.
“This is our livelihood and the government should support us so that we can afford to look after our families. In other countries the arts industry is big business and it receives support from both the government and the corporate world,” he said.
“We pay $75 to the Umzimgwane Rural District Council every month. We also need to pay rent where we stay. If things continue like this I might consider relocating to Victoria Falls where business is said to be more viable,” said Marvellous Ncube, whose pieces range from $5 to $700.Post published in: Arts