McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

November 8, 2012

In Mozambique, transforming guns into art

(Continued)

MAPUTO, Mozambique —

Tensions are also growing between political factions. Late last month, a former rebel leader, Afonso Dhlakama, returned to his forest hideout, along with 800 armed guerrillas. According to news reports, he has accused the government of not meeting his demands, which include integrating more of his former fighters into the nation's military and sharing control of Mozambique's newfound wealth.

"These days, any politician can say, 'If you don't give me what I want, I will go back to war.' And there are people willing to join him," said Boaventura Zita, the national coordinator for the Christian Council's project to gather weapons. "That's why we have to keep a dialogue of peace and reconciliation going."

Since its inception, the project has taken tens of thousands of weapons out of circulation. This year, the project has gathered 600 weapons, mostly Kalashnikov rifles, said Luis. In exchange for the weapons, the council hands out bicycles, ploughs and other farming tools and sewing machines.

The weapons are then brought to Maputo, the capital, and given to sculptors like Mabunda, who turn them into artistic symbols of peace. They work in workshops or in their houses. Mabunda's sculptures have been the most prominent.

His work is post-modern, even Cubist, reminiscent of Picasso. He has created ghoulish faceless masks that depict the horrors of war, and thrones made of weapons to symbolize how some African leaders manipulate politics and use violence to cling to power.

But Mabunda said the most important part of his work is its power to transform instruments of the death into tools of peace.

"This is important not only for Mozambique, but for the whole world," he said. "You can use the same weapons to make something useful — and not to kill."

The project, Luis said, will continue on as long as there is funding. Today, a Japanese non-governmental agency provides much of the financing, along with a few American church groups.

"Nobody knows how many guns were imported into Mozambique during the war," Luis said. "We know there's still a lot to do. Our dream one day is to say there are zero weapons in Mozambique."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
NDN Video
Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
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.