Stone Carving

Zimbabwe Vacation

African Shona SculptorYoung Zimbabwean GirlThe whole family recently went to Zimbabwe for our summer vacation. Although it was summer here, Zimbabwe being in the southern hemisphere, were in winter. I say winter, but Zimbabwe is in Africa, winter’s there are quite hot during the day but cold at night. I for one certainly have no problem going around in t-shirts and shorts. Although the local Zimbabweans tend to wrap up, which seems a little odd when you come from a place where it really does get cold.

We stayed with our grandmother, my mother was born in Zimbabwe and grew up there. As children we were exposed to all these Zimbabwe customs. The other great thing staying with granny was very cheap for us, not like a summer vacation at all. The only expensive part were the flights and it takes a long time to get there. You can’t fly direct you have to change flights and I really don’t like spending time in airports.

The culture and food in Zimbabwe are very nice. The people are friendly and polite and the main food is a kind of thick meat stew with sadza, a bowl of cooked millet, a little like mash potato.

Stone Sculpture

Three heads - carved stoneFamily - carved stoneThe other thing that you see a lot of is Shona Sculpture (Shona is the name given to the main tribe in Zimbabwe). There are many makeshift stalls set up around the capital city – Harare and the other main city – Bulawayo. These stalls sell this wonderful stone sculpture, carved by local artists that live and work in Zimbabwe. Stone carving is a tradition here and the stone is soft enough to be worked by hand.

These stone sculptures have varied subject matter from animals and family, to abstract and the virtues. Some are big and some small with all the various sizes in between. Something that will surprise you are the colors of the stone. Lots of different types of stone can be found in Zimbabwe, which have different colors and different streaky patterns. All use the skill or the sculptor to make the most of a particular stone or rock. And that is why why no two sculptures are ever the same.

Shona Stone Carving

When it comes to sculptures, everyone will have their particular favourite type subject matter. I particularly like the ones which depicted a mother and child. And there’s something very African about these Shona sculptures. Africa is just in them, like they could only have originated on that incredible continent.

We toiled with buying some, but there very heavy and shipping them back home is expensive. Which is much more than the original cost of buying them.

But we found a better way, the internet. What can’t you get on the internet these days? Well we found this site Stone Carving That showed us how to easily purchase these sculptures locally and has some great articles all about Shona Sculpture. Then goes on to discuss the artists and the source of all the wonderful variegated rocks.

Our Stone Carving at Home

So on our return we bought some pieces of sculpture for the house. We now have a piece of Africa in our home and the sculptures look great.