The skilled trade of stone sculpture is an integral aspect of life in Zimbabwe. The success of the sculptures created reaches as far as the New York Museum of Modern Art. Nevertheless, difficult economic and medical general conditions in Zimbabwe recently threatened to almost destroy this valuable potential.
In response to this threat, the non-profit association "Meister für Afrika" ('Masters for Africa') was established and set its first priorities, namely to preserve these talents and to use the professional support and promotion of vocational training to further develop the opportunities provided by such talents for the nation and its people in order to give them a better future.
Against this background, the association was able to motivate the West German Chambers of Crafts and Skilled Trades’ Council to develop a concept for a project supporting and promoting vocational training and to implement this project in close cooperation with artists in Zimbabwe and "Meister für Afrika".
In contrast to many other initiatives, the "Meister für Afrika" association has not focused and will not focus on helping established artists to market their works, but instead on motivating artists to train young talents from other families, to help them to progress and to develop their skills and their creative talent in such a way that they can use these abilities to make a life for themselves.
Without any public funding, the "Meister für Afrika" association has motivated people to donate money in order to provide financial security for the livelihoods of young people in Zimbabwe and to enable them to complete vocational training with an experienced artist. Each trainer receives a training premium that they can use to pay their young trainees for their work and to buy them the tools they require. This helps them to create new training relationships and to pass on their skills and expertise to the young people.
A total of 500 euros per year is enough to finance the livelihoods of young people. Another 250 euros are enough to give the artists an incentive to support their trainees.
These 250 euros not only cover the direct and indirect costs incurred for vocational training, including all materials, but also act as a critical incentive to provide training and support and promote talents.
The "Meister für Africa" association worked on a purely voluntary basis to select the first young people for training, to motivate artists and to provide suitable vocational training with a private certificate.
The trainers involved in this first stage of the project were Mike Munyaradzi, one of Zimbabwe's renowned artists whose father Henry Munyaradzi even has work exhibited in MoMA, and Tutani Mgabazi, who also holds workshops and works in Germany on a regular basis.
Alongside these two trainers from "Meister für Afrika", the West German Chambers of Crafts and Skilled Trades’ Council also chose to involve Itai Nyama in the project due to the fact that he has not only already appeared in Germany together with Tutani Mgabazi as part of the Obernkirchen Festival and is familiar with the dual system of vocational education and training in Germany, but also because he regularly lectures in Tuscany and Germany.
On the basis of a review of the realistic situation in Zimbabwe, a vocational training guide was developed in cooperation with the German stone-sculpture artist Winfried Häder, www.skulpturengarten.organd in dialogue with the three artists. This guide also factors in the experiences of Mr Tutani Mgabazi and his two trainees.
A guide and an information booklet for these training measures are available in German and English. The first trials have been conducted by the artists in Zimbabwe. As a side-activity of the project, the West German Chambers of Crafts and Skilled Trades’ Council has entered into dialogue with governmental, economic and other organisations in order to explore the long-term implementation of a corresponding education and, at a later stage, examination and further education system and to analyse the possibilities of such a system within the framework of the general political conditions of Zimbabwe.
You can find more results and project experiences in the download menu. The results of the entire project report are not published on this website due to the background of the political situation in Zimbabwe.
We would very much like to thank all partners and supporters for their involvement and look forward to continuing to work with them and to using the project to provide a multitude of young people with a career, a positive future and hopefully the realisation that it is important that they pass on their skills and knowledge to future talents.