Josia Manzi

Josia Manzi is born on the 11th of November 1933 at Mangton tobacco farm in Mvurwi. His parents were of the Malawian origin, they belong to the Yao tribe of the Miranga tote. Josia grew up in the Yao which exposed him to the creation of masks, stimulating him into art skills at a premature age. At the age of 24, he became his father’s assistant as a builder at Garawe Estate. It was in 1967 that Tom met Josia Manzi who invited him to move to Tengenenge, however they agreed that he would work for him in the field as well as in the gallery.

Josia had never done stone sculpting before but was experienced in the creation of wodden masks, Tom motivated him to start working on stone masks with the tools given by Tom. Being able to sell his sculptures successfully, Tom asked him to stop working on the farm and becoming a full time artists which offered him a much higher income. By the time Josia joined Tengenenge, only a few artists who had formerly joined into art craft for it was during the UDI era. A few years later war intensified that led to a number of artists flee from the gallery, Josiah and his family being amongst the only ones remaining in Tengenenge. Only at the end of the war, the other artists returned to Tengenenge. Josia’s creations are mainly based on imaginations, true stories and tales of the past

In 2004, Josia worn three million dollars at NAMA and exorbitant prizes in 2005 at the national art gallery in Harare as well as another outstanding three million dollars at an exhibition held at Tengenenge in 2005 by the Korean embassy. As far as his life as an artist is concerned, he had achieved some reasonable scores through stone sculpting. Back in 1993, he bought a Mercedes Benz and a lot of property and from the time two of his children died, he has been carrying the whole burden of paying school fees for the orphans as well as buying food and cloth for them.

Josia is married to Janet Manzi with whom he has nine children of which two are deceased. Their son Bakari passed away in 2001 after a long period of illness, followed by their daughter Emery in 2002.

In 2004, Josia underwent another painful period,  through the fracture of his harm which took him several  months to  recover and still causes him pain while working on stone.


Sculptures of Josia Manzi


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