News / National
Eccentric Luveve man causes a stir
27 Feb 2021 at 08:29hrs | Views
He's a genius!
He's amazingly gifted!
The unassuming Mathamsanqa Tshuma (67), a bachelor from Gwabalanda in Bulawayo, draws mixed reactions from residents through an eccentric lifestyle that has sent tongues wagging. His house immediately grabs the eye as it stands out from the rest life a black-fly in a bowl of milk. It is exquisitely decorated with sculptures, symbols and written plaques that any art gallery would be proud to exhibit. The house is spotlessly clean and there is a mixture of bright colours like a rainbow.
It is this seeming obsession with cleanliness and well-choreographed art that blends seamlessly with surroundings which has residents speaking.
Almost everyone who has been to the area around Dollar House or Steel House near Amakhosi Football ground in Gwabalanda, has something to say about Mr Tshuma and his house.
A welder by profession, Mr Tshuma, who is a father of nine children that all live outside the country, appears unmoved by the hullabaloo around his home. He says he is God's messenger whose life and actions all depict sermons that could lead people to salvation. However, a few people seem to get his divine message.
Mrs Melody Sibanda, one of the few who appear to understand Mr Tshuma said if everyone were to adopt his lifestyle of cleanliness, the world would be a better place with less disease.
"I like how clean he keeps his place. If it had been anyone else there would be an unsightly clutter of junk. If everyone was this clean, maybe even the coronavirus would not be upon us. I find inspiration in the verses he writes on some of his banners," said Mrs Sibanda.
A majority of residents said Mr Tshuma was plain mad.
"He is cuckoo. Anyone can see that. I think it is because he is lonely and has plenty of time to waste. At one time we had to report him to the police when he started sweeping and picking up litter from his home to the bus stop almost a kilometre away where he planted trees," said Mr Abel Zondo, one of Mr Tshuma's neighbours.
Mrs Kudzai Njani said Mr Tshuma was a talented but misunderstood genius whose welding skills cannot be questioned. "Tshuma can act crazy but when doing his job expect the best. His welding skills are splendid despite his weird actions," said Mrs Njani.
Another resident said: "We don't know whether he is officially crazy but he does act crazy, even the decorations outside his yard raise questions."
Miss Sihle Mdlongwa, one of his neighbours said: "He is crazy, who goes to the community bus stop and starts cleaning, he writes weird things on his tools and claims they are tongues, I really don't understand him." A group of young girls said they found Mr Tshuma creepy.
"There is something going on with him he needs mental attention, old age must be ticking in. I find him creepy."
"He is now better, he used to sweep at the bus stop every day, even on the road he used to sweep and pick up papers until everyone thought he was crazy," said one of the girls who resides in the neighbourhood.
A News crew visited Mr Tshuma and he appeared normal.
"I don't care what people say about me. At one time they called my children and told them I had lost my mind," he says, scratching the white beard on his face with disarming charm. The professional welder makes sculptures that are also functional tools that can be used in day-to-day life.
He fashions his artwork out of bits metal and says each has a significant biblical meaning of the happenings surrounding him.
"My creations come from a desire to inspire and aspire to cleanliness because it is next to Godliness.
"I am like a fly, if there is a dirty place it comes even in your home it comes, flies are messengers of God they are sent to show you what is dirty. Instead of cleaning the dirt people tend to attack the fly, this is what's happening," says the soft-spoken Mr Tshuma as he showed the news crew around his yard.
He moves with a spring in his step and is alert for his age. "I was protecting the environment and children when I swept up to the bus stop daily but some people thought I was mad. I was removing rubbish that attracts disease causing organisms." He smiles as he shows the news crew a row of sculptures that look like missile launchpads.
One even has the word Bazooka emblazoned along a pipe that looks like a dangerous weapon about to be fired. The artefacts turn out to be efficient fuel saving stoves. Among his creations, Mr Tshuma has a 2 litre Jojo stand, "Kalahari cookers", and a mobile braai stand with side pockets, each of which he says is a result of circumstances affecting his community.
"They look like weapons of mass destruction but I use them for peace. They bring cheer in a home when we use them for cooking. That is how the whole world should be. They are efficient fuel savers that use minimal firewood and even bottles for cooking. I call them Kalahari cookers. That bazooka is actually a chimney that channels smoke from the fire away from the person who is cooking," he says, to the amazement of the news crew.
Like a proud father showing off his beloved offspring, Mr Tshuma caresses his works of art with his calloused hands as he speaks.
"I am a sealed envelope, all that has to be done is to open the envelope and find out what's inside, but people don't ask, they just assume what they want to think," he says.
"I built the two-litre Jojo stand when water shedding was at its peak, the Kalahari cooker functions exactly like an electrical stove just that you use fire wood, its built in such a way that the fire doesn't stop, it burns until you put it out.
"I built them after realising that people suffer from power cuts and water shedding, all we do is cry yet we can make solutions for those problems," he said.
Is he an inventor? "No!" he says, "I'm more of an innovator with a Godly message to deliver to the public through my work."
Outside his colourful home is a mantis kneeling before a chair written "Let's pray for peace."
He says the artwork symbolises the cry for peace and unity in the country. He says a more than two-metre-high stone wall around his house was built with every stone representing a particular purpose, some representing minerals in the country.
Source - GroundUP