President Emmerson Mnangagwa has rejected the youthful-looking statue of liberation icon Mbuya Nehanda saying the proper face should be a lot more wrinkled and resemble that of a woman well past middle age.
This was revealed by presidential spokesperson George Charamba who told State media that Mnangagwa prefers a statue depicting an elderly, wrinkled Nehanda which most Zimbabweans can relate to. Said Charamba:
When we have that kind of artistic production there are key features which must ensure that onlookers immediately connect with the production and one key feature has to do with the physical appearance of the real-life figure you are talking about so the President immediately reacted he wanted to understand why artistically VaMutasa had decided to make Nehanda look a lot more youthful.
Then it emerged that the reality is that VaMutasa had in fact done something that approximated Nehanda in life but the authorities at the monuments and museums were of the different view they thought the artistic production must convey and communicate vigour, permanence, the youthfulness of the spirit which Nehanda incarnates or personifies so they then suggested that Nehanda be made a lot younger to suggest that buoyancy which they wanted to communicate to the onlooker.
The President didn’t agree and as it turns out that youthful face of Nehanda will be put away and will have a Nehanda who is closer to how the good lady looked in real life which means a lot more wrinkled well past middle-aged but of course showing the strength and stresses of captivity.
The Mbuya Nehanda statue, which is yet to be erected in central Harare, has become a source of ridicule with critics saying it resembles a “slay queen”.