Forging peace

[swfobj src=”http://togetherliberia.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/manfred-zbrzezny-by-peter-toby-together-liberia/soundslider.swf” width=”960″ height=”670″]Manfred Zbrzenzy’s work landed in the office of the vice president after one of Manfred’s American customers bought about 20 candle stands and shared some with Boakai. The 50-year-old blacksmith was overwhelmed with joy when he heard the news. The VP has handed the candle stands out to visitors as a souvenir. Story, images and audio by Peter Toby.[/swfobj]A German blacksmith in Monrovia who makes art out of old weapons sells most of his work to American tourists. But he does have one famous Liberian client: Vice President Joseph Boakai.

Manfred Zbrzenzy’s work landed in the office of the vice president after one of Manfred’s American customers bought about 20 candle stands and shared some with Boakai. The 50-year-old blacksmith was overwhelmed with joy when he heard the news. The VP has handed the candle stands out to visitors as a souvenir.

Manfred was invited to the office of the vice president to talk about his work. There, Manfred said Boakai told him that transforming weapons scrap into art was a great message for people. Boakai said his favorite object was a candle stand because it carries light.

“People often connect Liberia to war, and using such an image will prove that Liberians can do something with weapons scrap,” Manfred quoted the vice president as saying.

Manfred has made an 8-foot-tall tree out of weapons scrap for all Liberian children. It’s presently is in his workshop, but the government is planning a spot for it on Providence Island as symbol for all  to see.

Manfred said he enjoyed making that tree and smaller ones, as well as candle stands, book ends and bells. But customers do ask for other things, he said. Just a few weeks ago, he got a most unusual request: for a duck made of old weapons.

He said he could do it in about three days.

He has made unusual things before, including the scale of justice for a lawyer.

Vist his site at fyrkuna.com

 

About Peter Toby

Toby is a court reporter for the New Democrat, but has also covered sports. More