Supporting The Art Community in Tengenenge, Zimbabwe
Juja Tembo was born on the 14th of March 1970 in Centenary. He is of the Tembo Mazvimbakupa (zebra totem) who belongs to the Chewa tribe from Malawi. In 1978, he started schooling at Dolking farm school in Concession, later on moving to Centenary, where he finished schooling at ordinary level.
While at school, Juja was involved in wood curving and during his own spare time, he would be making baskets and cooking sticks. After he quitted schooling, he came to Marirambada farm in Mvurwi constituency where he was employed for the first time as a general worker, being later promoted as a building assistant. His new occupation was less complicated than being a field worker. However, after an accident he had to quit his job and went back to work on the field of his family.
In 1992 he got employed as a general worker and later a drier operator at Mukoko farm. to be later endorsed to became a drier operator. In 1997, his brother Wilfred Tembo visited him at the farm. He became the first person to tell Juja about stone sculpting and the Tengenenge art community. He was told that stones were paying much better than working in the farms. As a result, in 1998 , he quit work at the farm and arrived at Tengenenge together with his wife and children.
Upon arrival he worked at first as an assistant of his brother Wilfred and gaining increasingly experience and skills in carving. With the time he started creating own pieces. At first, he was asked by his brother to copy one of his owls, but instead, Juja created his own original owl which later on became his trademark. At that time , he received his own stand where he could expose his works that includes birds, owls, baboons , heads and elephants and was as well given a place to built his own house.
In 2005 he won an award at an exhibition that was held at Tengenenge art center in conjunction with the Korean Embassy
He is married to Effinate Benson and together they have four children.
Sculptures of Juja Tembo
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