EXCLUSIVE: ‘From reggae to sculptor artist’
Zimbabwean Metal sculptor artist, Tafirenyika Manyenga who is currently based in South Africa has been trending across social media because of his metal sculptures.
In an exclusive interview with he, Tafirenyika tells My Afrika Magazine reporter about how his journey started when he was polishing his music career.
During his conversation with Tapiwa Rubaya, Tafirenyika Manyenga also shares with us the secret on how a professional Metal Sculptor one can be.
TR: Hie Tafirenyika can you introduce yourself to the My Afrika Magazine family?
TM: My name is Tafirenyika Richard Takavadini-Manyenga I was born in Mhondoro Nyamweda in a small village called Magwagwa Village under Sabhuku Magwagwa on the 24 of September 1981 to Pikitai John Takavadini and Rona Manyenga as the last born of 6 children (5 boys and 1 girl) unfortunately only Rona Manyenga, 3 boys and 1 girl are the only surviving members at the time of writing.
TR: When did you discover your talent as a metal sculptor?
MT: I first discovered that I had a sort of talent at the age of 12 after going to the urban areas (in Zimbabwe) for a school holiday and realised how Dancehall/Reggae from Jamaica was taking Zimbabwe by storm but I quickly realized how easy it was for me to actually start hearing my own words on top of the hottest riddims of the times between 1993-94 which prompted me to write my first ever original song in 1994 called ‘Brother Kill Brother’ of which while I was really excited and enjoying, it would get more people not believing that it was actually mine but rather I was copying “some Jamaican” but I didn’t give up till this day I allow myself to be creating my own original music as I seem to only enjoy own compositions more.
Strangely I grew up thinking that I would be a great talented reggae musician.
I decided to come down to SA in 2006 to buy a music band kit and I didn’t know what job I was coming to do here so I explored myself from within and picked up an available welding machine upon arrival and I have not stopped.
I am bittersweet because as I started creating unique metal art it became on demand so much that I have been struggling to do music, my first and dearest love.
TR: Aside from metal and wire what other materials are needed to perfect your work?
TM: I also use welding electrodes 2,5mm and 3,2mm
Washers, half sphere steel balls.
TR: One might wonder where do you purchase your material products from?
TM: All the steel I use, I purchase from MacSteel group, Welding rods at Adernd of Equipment and Machinery like welding machines and all other material at GTC Hardware group Stilfontein.
I am very grateful for the above companies
TR: What takes one to be a professional metal sculptor?
TM: Blood, sweat, tears, sacrifice, rejection, and every other worst-case scenario is thrown at a very good artist in the end, there is absolutely no shortcuts
TR: One of your pieces the Eagle that is at Orkney Golf Club, has been trending on social media.
TM: I was approached by the Orkney golf club team about 15 days before the world lockdown announcement for SA to check “if I would be able to make a Fish Eagle with a 5m wingspan” and I said YES, I can do it.
TR: Lastly how much is the Eagle at Orkney Golf Club in USD.
TM: It is worth a solid USD1000.
TR: What is your favourite piece so far and why?
TM: My favourite pieces are the Aliens because it was just a once off experience even up to now I have never attempted to create aliens and nobody has given me an order for them so that makes them a very special occurrence.
TR: Aside from being a sculptor creator you are also a musician how do you fuse the two?
TM: I struggle to balance music and metal art, in the meantime more focus is on the metal art and music is losing according to myself.
I use the name Taafi Renyikah in Reggae music and I also do traditional Zimbabwe music as Taafi Renyikah and Intersection if I am playing with a band
I recently learned to play and fuse the Nyunganyunga mbira instrument to my traditional sound.
My first album was called Nadzo Nadzo and it carries tracks like Ndimi Ndimi, Mudhara Gumbo,Ganchila, Masango, Ozvifarira
These are available on YouTube under Taafi Renyikah.