Ancestors showed local artist how to create sculptures

David Cele poses with some of his creations at his home studio in KwaNoshezi in Edendale.
David Cele poses with some of his creations at his home studio in KwaNoshezi in Edendale.
Ian Carbutt

Ever since his ancestors taught him how to sculpt a springbok in his dream, a man from KwaNoshezi, upper Edendale, has been using his new-found talent to sculpt many other animals.

David “Watt” Cele (52) said he started creating animal statues two years ago after his ancestors “blessed him with a new talent”.

“I had a dream of my forefathers instructing me to create a sculpture of the springbok on the R1 coin. They told me that is how I would be able to make money working from home,” said Cele.

The bubbly man, who lives alone in a small creatively painted house, said he used to be a machine operator at a metal factory but is no longer employed, and his only source of income is his government grant.

To create his artwork, Cele said he welds iron into a skeleton shape of the animal he wants. He then moulds the body of the animal using a mixture of cement and sand. When it is dry he uses the fabric used to mend car bonnets to create a smooth surface and paints it.

“No one taught me to mould these sculptures, I dreamt it, then woke up and went to different shops in town and asked what materials I could use,” said Cele.

He said sometimes his friends offer to help him with his works but eventually leave because he has no money to pay them. “The material and paints I use are very expensive and I would appreciate any support I could get,” he said.

The sculptor said he has never sold any of his sculptures because people do not know about them.

“I am just an old man using my talent to make a difference. I plead with people to support me by buying my sculptures,” he said, adding that he is willing to create any other sculptures based on his customers’ requests.

He said he plans to create a huge elephant sculpture soon that will symbolise the area of uMgungundlovu. Cele can be contacted at 084 483 3992.

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