Sculptors, Apostolic sect members clash

Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe - MEMBERS of an apostolic sect based near the Chikwanha roundabout along Seke Road in Chitungwiza have clashed with sculptors over a four-hectare piece of land that both sides claim ownership over.

The church members use the area to conduct their worship activities while the artists use it to carve and display their wares.

The worshippers — who say they were the first to occupy the place in 2001 — claim that the artists bulldozed into area after a Zimbabwean-based Korean art dealer, Joe Choe, bought it from the councillor of Mhonda Village, one Manhombo.

When The Herald visited the land yesterday, the apostolic sect members were conducting their prayers right in the middle of the sculptures while the artists themselves were busy carving their wares around them.

A member of the church, Madzibaba David Japi said: "We have been occupying this piece of land since 2001 and it belonged to us ever since.

"It was only last year that the artists came and occupied the piece of land after claiming to have bought it.

"We were given until February to find another place and I can say that we have no problem worshipping while they work," he said.

However, some of the sculptors said the land belonged to them after they had bought it from Chitungwiza Municipality.

"We bought it from the council, and not from Manhombo because as far as I know, Manhombo is just a councillor in Mhonda Village," said Danmore Njanji, the manager of Agio Gallery.

Another artist, Douglas Makwarimba said: "They (apostolic members) can go at any time since we own the land."

Efforts to get a comment from Manhombo proved fruitless.