2019 - Ongoing
On the 17th of May 1960, the Queen Mother officially opened the Lake Kariba dam wall. Its construction was compared to the Great Pyramids of Giza, the white man had conquered the seemingly untameable Zambezi river, the local river god NyamiNyami, now separated from his wife downstream, and in doing so had created the largest man-made lake in the world.
The completion of the Kariba dam wall and subsequent flooding of the reservoir displaced 57,000 BaTonga people and destroyed more habitat than any single human action had before. In creating, they had destroyed, and in displacing, white Rhodesians had created a Mecca they would always return to and a place that would become a prominent landmark in our national identity. The Zambezi Valley had been a hallowed place, consumed by folklore, myth, and history central of which were the Tonga rain shrines, Malende, the majority of which were destroyed when the valley was flooded to create Kariba. They were regarded as sacred places of spiritual powers and in some cases there were beliefs that Mizimo, the custodians of these shrines would appear in the form of snakes, tortoise, or crocodile - each carrying a significant message to the community. This body of work aims to explore and reimagine the sacredness of the land, as well as the various industries around Lake Kariba which would not have existed for the creation of Lake Kariba 60 years ago.