Senior Arts Reporter
After four-years of meditation, stone sculptor Ronika Tandi, finally gathered the courage to carve a 1.5 meters tall masterpiece about her childhood stories.
Growing up, Tandi said she used to hear stories of people being killed by ‘Binga Waves’ on Lake Kariba.
“I grew up at a time when so many people lost lives due to two waves. There was the deadly Binga Wave and the Nyaodza Wave which although light were also fatal at times.
“As children we would hear that so and so has lost their parents to the waves. It used to happen so often that during class we would be sent back home for the funeral when a classmate loses their parent,” said Ronika.
The 43-year-old Ronika said it took long to come up with the piece titled “Kariba Waves” because a lot was going through her mind while she was overseas in Germany where she runs Little Zim Art of Africa Gallery.
“The idea of sculpting the piece came after I was commissioned to work on a sculpture in Germany. I donated the piece to the community and there was massive support from the community. So I sat down and asked why not do the same for my community?”
The sculpture on spring stone tells stories of the deadly waves that claimed lives of fishermen.
She returned home and as she started sculpting the piece with one of Tocky Vybz songs playing in the back of her mind.
And as fate would have it, Ronika’s masterpiece was presented to the community in Kariba where Tocky Vybz also attended the ceremony.
The “Kariba Waves” is in two parts — the lower part is the Binga Wave while the upper part represents the Nyaodza Wave.
Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Permanent Secretary Thokozile Chitepo, had the honor of commissioning the sculpture which is mounted on the skirts of Lake Kariba at a high place popularly known as the View Point.
Ronika said she was proud of her heritage and is spreading her culture through hosting three artists on a residency programme at her gallery in Germany.
“There is no Shona art in Europe so we have to come home to get the inspiration and authentic art.
“However, since tourists that now visit Zimbabwe have no or little appreciation of art from time to time we have buyers from overseas who come to our gallery,” she said.
She has worked with the likes of Eddie Masaya, Shepherd Mahufe -a deaf painter who specializes in totems and a host of artists from Tengenenge.
At present, Ronika is a teacher at Emerald School for the Deaf where she teaches practical and theory art.
She studied at National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s BAT school between 2007 and 2008.Since 2009, she visits Germany holding exhibitions in Nurnberg, Munchen and Saizburg.
In 2011, Ronika an abstract artist, was part of the Zimbabwean delegation at the Bienale in Venice, Italy.