McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

November 8, 2012

In Mozambique, transforming guns into art

MAPUTO, Mozambique — Whenever Goncalo Mabunda looks at his sculptures, he wonders if any of his materials killed his uncle, a government soldier who was shot to death during Mozambique's 15-year civil war. Mabunda's sculptures are made from the bullets and rifles that fueled the conflict.

"Portions of my family, my neighbors, they all died in the war," said Mabunda, 37, glancing at a sculpture made out of a rusting AK-47 and a helmet that hangs on his wall. "How many people were killed with these weapons? This might be the one that killed some of my relatives."

Mabunda is one of dozens of artists in this southern African capital who are transforming weapons into sculptures, playing a role in preventing a resurrection of violence and instability in one of the continent's fastest growing economies. The sculptures have attracted international attention, with pieces shown in galleries in New York, Osaka, London and other cities. The Clinton Foundation and the Vatican have purchased some of Mabunda's sculptures.

The project, launched in 1995 by the Christian Council of Mozambique, had two goals: to bring peace and reconciliation to the country's divided population and to disarm the thousands of combatants who participated in the war, which left more than a million people dead. Now, two decades after a peace deal was signed, the project remains as relevant as ever. As the divide between rich and poor expands, and as businessmen and the politically connected scramble for the country's mineral wealth, many Mozambicans fear that violence could be used to rectify inequalities and advance political ambitions.

"It has been 20 years of peace, but we're still finding lots of guns. Guns are still a threat to our society," said Nicolau Luis, assistant director for the project at the Christian Council. "Our resources can become a curse. High unemployment can breed resentment. If we can cleanse our country of guns, it will be good for our future."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
NDN Video
Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.