Contemporary artiste David Ngwerume has dedicated a sculpture “pregnant” with meaning in memory of Memory Machaya, a 14-year-old girl, who died last month while giving birth at a shrine in Bocha, Mutare.
Machaya’s death outraged Zimbabweans and attracted international attention, as the minor was married off to an old man affiliated to the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect.
Ngwerume, who is also a lawyer by profession, took it upon himself to start a dialogue that abolishes child marriages in Zimbabwe and Africa at large.
The sculpture which is now trending on social media is called “Halt The Child Marriages”.
It was designed using spring-stone.
He has fought such cases similar to Machaya’s in the court room but still lost as some families withdrew the cases and resolved them on “traditional terms”.
But with this piece, Ngwerume believes he has strung the bow and the arrow has sent a strong message that will transform the movement of eliminating child marriages straight to the pale hearts of the oppressors.
In an interview with B-Metro Showbiz, Ngwerume said Machaya’s fate tore his heart into pieces and it inspired him to put an end to the pathetic belief and practice.
“This practice (child marriages) has been happening, even when we were growing up. We lost brilliant minds who were married off while they were young. This also happened to Memory (Machaya).
“I believe I have a voice as an advocate through my practice but fighting and debating in the courtroom is not enough. I decided to fight this battle through the sculpture that took a week to be completed,” said Ngwerume.
Besides the sculpture doing its earthly work of exhibition and touching many hearts for a cause, Ngwerume said it was his form of prayer to God.
“In this land there is a big problem. Babies are still forced to have babies by the manipulative men under the guise of religion, an epitome that should be respected in the eyes of God.
“The rainbow of art through thy gift in my hands, has sent me before you up these mountains to declare “child marriages” as the most unfinished business of this 21st century,” said Ngwerume in the form of a prayer.
The lawyer-cum-artiste attacked old men who take advantage of young girls to man up and be a fatherhood example in society.
He said masculinity must not be an excuse of inequality and oppression of those who feel strong over the weak.
“Since thoughts have no gender, as the living no one must abuse another under the guise of muscle, that is just being ugly to each other. Let’s let these girls grow up until they have a voice and make choices of their own.
“More equality, hope, humanity, pride, acceptance and love are the reason this world was created,” said Ngwerume.