Young And Lovely

2021

Red Jasper

  • 48.5cm (h)
  • 26cm (w)
  • 22cm (d)

32cm

portrait photo of Rufaro Murenza

Rufaro Murenza

Sculptor

“She is so pretty. She’ll find a good husband to love her and look after her very soon.”

A teenage girl whose looks will catch the eye of many men, and she and her family will have the pick of the suitors. They can choose someone steady and reliable, able to support her and the family they will have together. She is blessed with a rosy future.

In Shona culture, a man pays lobola (bridewealth) to the parents of his bride-to-be. The lobola is negotiated between his family and hers, and primarily reflects her background and level of education. Anthropologists would see it as a payment to her family to compensate them for the loss of her future labour and for the children she will produce.

Interestingly, Zimbabwean women speak of lobola as something that gives them self-respect, a social value. They don’t see it as demeaning at all – in fact, quite the opposite. This turns dowry payments on their heads, and they suddenly start to look like a girl’s family paying a man to take her away!

Red jasper is a semi-precious gemstone that is finding increasing favour among Zimbabwean sculptors. It’s extremely hard and needs electric tools to be worked. This makes it difficult and expensive to sculpt, but the end result is absolutely extraordinary. It is fine for outdoor display in any climate.