Local stone artist hopes to empower youth

2018-02-21 06:02
Local artist Thembekile Ntshiza works from home in a shack behind his house. Photos:THANDI SETOKOE

Local artist Thembekile Ntshiza works from home in a shack behind his house. Photos:THANDI SETOKOE

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HIS creations take pride in as faraway places as England, Paraguay and Japan, and locally his work can be seen in big companies such as Isuzu, Volkswagen and FNB, to name a few.

Using stones that have fallen off from the mountains onto the road, the talented Thembekile Ntshiza of Missionvale creates sculptures using only a screw driver and hammer.

The 43-year-old discovered this unique talent in 1997 following a dream where his late grandmother was telling him that he could use his hands to do great things.

“By then I had lost my job and was desperately trying to make ends meet. A friend of mine suggested that I do something special with stone,” Ntshiza said.

Amazed with the end product, he took the initiative to produce more sculptures.

“I have made portraits of all the Nelson Mandela Bay mayors, from Nceba Faku to Athol Trollip,” he said.

Ntshiza has also made a badge of an English rugby club, a carving for a citrus fruit company in Paraguay and for Abadare Cables, who sent the piece to Japan.

“I’m planning on carving a sculpture for the newly elected President, Cyril Ramaphosa. As soon as I have collected enough stones I will start working and then plan a trip to deliver it to him.”

On the local front and in-between the bigger pieces, he crafts gifts for 21st birthdays as well as tombstones.

Ntshiza gets his materials from the mountains between Hankey and Humansdorp, and once completed, polishes the sculptures with shoe polish to give the stone a special shine.

“Going forward I would like to teach the local youth how to use this skill. It really saddens me to see unemployed youth falling prey to social ills,” the father of four, who now makes his living from the art, said.


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