Sculptor Mudzunga lives in fear
VENDA sculptor Samson Mudzunga is living in fear after a headman allegedly spread rumours that he is a witch.
Mudzunga, also a performance visual artist, said he was afraid he might be killed because of the rumours. He said the problem started years ago when he hosted a performance exhibition called Dzingoma, of which the headman did not approve.
Mudzunga made these startling allegations to Sowetan yesterday.
"The headman has been giving me problems for years, whenever I have an exhibition. Recently he spread malicious rumours that I practise witchcraft. This is very serious because I could get killed. People have started treating me differently."
Mudzunga said the rumours were denting his image as an international artist.
"I am no longer getting art customers like I used to. This is beginning to make my life difficult," he said.
Headman Neckson Shavhani denied that he ever called Mudzunga a witch.
"There is absolutely no truth whatsoever in these claims. These rumours are being spread by Mudzunga himself," Shavhani said.
The headman said he has asked for a meeting with Mudzunga, to be chaired by Chief Thovhele Tshivhase.
"I want to resolve this issue because it is not healthy for either of us," Shavhani said.
Tshivhase has confirmed that he had received an e-mail from Mudzunga's lawyers.
"I've received an e-mail and I am going to have a meeting with them."
Last year Mudzunga told the Sowetan that Shavhani was jealous of him because of the number of people he attracts to his performances.
Mudzunga said that his exhibitions usually attracted international art lovers from as far as Europe.
His performance includes burying himself in an open grave. The grave contains a "spirit" drum.
Mudzunga climbs into the drum pretending to be dead.
After a while, the performer comes out dressed in a different outfit.
After the burial, Mudzunga drinks sacred water that has been taken from a natural lake in Venda called Lake Fududzi.