Samson Kuvenguhwa was born in Mudzi District, in the Eastern border of Zimbabwe. He is third born in a family of six, and a member of the apostolic faith Mission Church.
Samson started curving at the age of 10, inspired by both his grandparents who were blacksmiths. They used wood to make wooden plates and walking sticks and also used Illala to make hats and baskets. Sometimes he also joined his grandmother who was also a potter.
When Samson left school he became a waiter. He however realized that his talent was in curving and started curving by himself using soap stone in 1974. In 1977 he joined Cannan Partson and formed his own group 5 Km from Harare along Bulawayo road, which is still operating today as Kubatana Craft Center. In 1980 Samson left his group and went back to his rural areas.
In his rural areas, there is a respected cultural area that is well known as Mapiti. Mapiti is a small mountain that was destroyed by Nyadire River, leaving a lot curves existent in the area. During the war, before the whites came to this country, people and animals used to hide in the curves, hence the name Mapiti was formed due to the sound produced by both the animals and people. One day Samson thought that it, if musicians and fashion designers are able to create new style in music and fashion and give them names, then why not we artists? Samson then decided to combine shona arts, abstracts, fine arts, balancing rocks, curves and clouds and named it Mapiti Art Style, so that his sculptures resembles dried trees or ancient clay well fired not from the kiln in appearance, or burned wood, bronze, custard iron and it appeared as century pieces.
In 1982 Samson curved three good pieces and took them to the National Gallery for exhibition and won the 1st price among the countries showcasing namely Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Tanzania, with a piece entitled Tonga Smiling Face that was sponsored by Nedlow. In 1983 he joined the Shona Sculptures for only 3 months but he was not satisfied and returned back to his own group. In 1989 he was invited again by Roy Guthrie to Chapungu Sculptures Park. Since Mapiti was an outstanding style it became hardly enough for Roy Gathrey to promote it as Shona Art, as well as for customers to understand it as they were used to Shona Art.
In 1992 his works were exhibited in the National Gallery with a piece called Shona Woman and won second price sponsored by Mobile Oil. In 1992 Samson as an artist, with his own image who doesnt like to work among others, copy or repeat any of his pieces, left Chapungu and started to work alone at his home where he is still operating from to date. In 1994 he was invited to the First Gala in Switzerland by Dr D Ruff where Mapiti was first published and promoted.
Samson hosted a one-man exhibition in 1995 to 1996 with his work in one of the gallery at Calton center in South Africa. In 1997 to 1998 his pieces were exhibited in Germany and Australia. As of today Mapiti is now recognized globally in countries such as USA, South Korea, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Germany and Denmark. Now Samson Is accompanied by his son Obey Kuvenguhwa who seem to have inherited his fathers great sculpturing talents.
For the first ever video interview of this elusive artist visit; https://youtu.be/zQF-xuWUQqg