Rangisse Sculptures October 25, 2017 – Posted in: Uncategorised

A story by Doug Dicker

Kuwadzana is a satellite township situated just south of Harare.
In 2005, the township was severely disrupted by the government’s clean-up campaign, as with all the townships, which left many without accommodation and sheltered work places.

In, what used to be called a “home industry” area of Kuwadzana, lives a family of carvers.
The Rangisse family.

Born in Mozambique in 1959, Venassa Rangisse, fled the civil war in his homeland and came to Zimbabwe in 1981 with his wife and took on various manual labour jobs.

He and his wife had two sons, Johane born in 1984, and Daniel born in 1987.

In 1992, Venassa met acclaimed artist Richard Mteke and started his life as a stone artist.
As his sons became old enough, they too followed after their father’s lead.

Their style, as it always has been, is creative faces. I first saw their style in 1997 and it hasn’t changed.
This style obviously has been popular enough for them not to look for change, and I know that these sculptures have been popular in the range of “gifts” in galleries as they are small enough to “cash and carry” buy large enough to lift the look of a table or desk.

Before the year 2000, the future for stone carvers seemed prosperous, but as the economy and worldwide reputation of Zimbabwe plummeted, so did the tourism and buyers……..as well as the hopes for many aspiring artists.

Today, the Rangisse family all live together in a small house in
Kuwadzana and after the death of Venassa’a wife, he
re-married.

Their work shed where all their sculptures were carved, has been destroyed and they now carve out in the weather.

Even though their life is now harder, their genuineness and friendliness is inspiring. They always welcome with smiles and honest greetings. Not because they feel I am about to buy something….because sometimes I don’t…but because that just their personality.

They have told me they feel sure the country will right itself, and the buyers will return.

At the moment, they partly rely on me to deliver them raw stones, mainly fruit serpentine, so they continue to carve and earn.
They also bring in their own stones as they DO still have some customers who send them orders, but as they say….”life is tough in Zimbabwe now.”