Will Africa have its version of the famous wax museum? This is what South African artist and sculptor, Lungelo Gumede, is determined to bring to reality .
Gumede wants to carve out a very different spot on the global map for South Africa’s coastal city, Durban.
On most days, he spends time in his studio, slowly molding the next likeness in his growing collection of wax statues.
My dream is about to come true, I'm about to achieve what has been my long time goal to actually start a wax museum, to invite people to come and experience the very same thing I experienced back in 2004
His statues of local and international public figures soon earned him fame – and a living.
“With the income that I get from doing statues, so I’m pursuing my vision to start the wax museum as you can see I’ve got statues of political figures, I’ve got statues of sportsmen, I’ve got statues of cultural figures, I’m trying to do the same thing that I saw at Madame Tussauds, trying to do statues of our icons, our heroes of struggle you know in different categories,” Gumede told Reuters.
Gumede says he has always had artistic leanings but that the wax and clay statues he now focuses on, have given him a true sense of purpose.
“My dream is about to come true, I’m about to achieve what has been my long time goal to actually start a wax museum, to invite people to come and experience the very same thing I experienced back in 2004 when I first went to the Madame Tussauds, to actually come up close and personal with their a-list celebrities, to their cultural leaders, to their historical figures and actually you know, because its more like a learning curve as well for people to actually come and learn about the history of our country, so it’s more educational and entertainment at the same place,“Gumede added.
The 31-year-old is regularly commissioned by the government, private organizations, and individuals to create pieces, but the statues of icons like Nelson Mandela, Hugh Masekela, and Michael Jackson are privately funded and are being kept to eventually be exhibited in his museum.