Josiah Manzi | Zimbabwe

“Before I start a sculpture, I take off the blanket of stone, like taking off the skin of an animal. Nobody eats an animal before the skin is taken off.”


Josiah Manzi was born on the 11th November 1933 in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe. 

Manzi is one of the last surviving First Generation artists of Zimbabwean sculpture. 

Originally from Malawi, Joasiah started working as a builder, assisting his father at Tengenenge, a large tobacco farm. 

Taught by his father, Manzi started carving wooden masks. 

in 1966 the new owner of Tengenenge, Tom Blomefield, a white South-African-born farmer. decided to diversify the use of his land and welcomed Josiah and new sculptors onto it to form a community of working artists. 

In 1967 Manzi made his start with sculpting stone.

Completely self taught, Manzi creates unnatural and surreal overtones inspired by spirituality, deeply rooted in Yao culture.  In some of his sculptures, the anatomy develops new and often disturbing relationships. To Josiah it seems natural for breasts to develop from thighs, yet to the on looker it seems surreal and a subversion of orthodoxy.


He has won several awards including NAMA. He lives and works at the Tengenenge Art Community and is married to sculptress Jenet Manzi, a first generation artist. 


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