New Castle News

Community News Network

November 9, 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
Community News Network
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

House Ads
Poll

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to authorize Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama for allegedly overstepping his legal authority with the way he's handled Obamacare. Good call?

Yes. Obama's been overstepping his authority since day one in office. It's time he pay the piper.
No. The allegations are ridiculous and the law suit is a waste of time and tax payer money.
I don't know. I'm not a huge fan of Obama, but the suit seems a little extreme.
     View Results