King’s Messenger


Springstone (Serpentine)

  • 57cm (h)
  • 30cm (w)
  • 20cm (d)


Shona artist Tonderai Sowa with one of his abstract sculptures

Tonderai Sowa


“The king is calling his messenger to come and carry a message to his people for him.”

Tonderai represents the king by the loop at the top, and the king’s messenger is the lower loop. The spiralling movement suggests the flow of communication from the king to his people, via his messenger.

Historically, kings ruled the people of Zimbabwe. They built the amazing structures at Great Zimbabwe, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are also ruins of many smaller sites at other locations scattered across the country.

Some royal lineages do still exist and can exert power, operating alongside the formal political sphere. For example, we recently heard of one king ruling that an area of illegal camps by a dam should be cleared. Good for him!

This is a one-off sculpture, signed by the artist. As with all his pieces, Tonderai has sculpted it from a single piece of stone. It would be great for a central focal point, as it has interest from every angle.

Springstone is the local name for this hard type of serpentine stone. It has a dense, even internal structure of small grains of rock with very few flaws. As a result, it is a perfect medium for Tonderai’s technically challenging style.