SA is poorer after Credo Mutwa’s death_1

Credo Mutwa would feature prominently among the top 50 eminent South Africans of the latter half of the last century. Mutwa was charismatic, mystic, beguiling, fascinating and hypnotic. He died yesterday at the ripe age of 98, in Kuruman, Northern Cape. His was a character whose life was steeped in pathos and controversy. Two years ago, he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Literary Award at the SA Literary Awards for his “indigenous wisdom”. Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa last year hailed him as a “human treasure”. Yet, during the uprisings of 1976, students accused him of being an...
Credo Mutwa would feature prominently among the top 50 eminent South Africans of the latter half of the last century. Mutwa was charismatic, mystic, beguiling, fascinating and hypnotic. He died yesterday at the ripe age of 98, in Kuruman, Northern Cape.

His was a character whose life was steeped in pathos and controversy. Two years ago, he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Literary Award at the SA Literary Awards for his “indigenous wisdom”.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa last year hailed him as a “human treasure”. Yet, during the uprisings of 1976, students accused him of being an apartheid stooge and set his African cultural village in Soweto alight.

The students viewed the village as promoting the apartheid philosophy of “separate development”. Mutwa later moved to Mahikeng, and then Kuruman, where he continued his work with relentless energy.

Born in Zululand on 21 July 1921, he didn’t attend school until he was 14. He was a healer, painter, sculptor, and sanusi (prophet), who decried the devastation of the Aids epidemic. He died just as the coronavirus was taking off, and it would have been interesting to hear his views as he believed everything was prophesied.

The country is a lot poorer without him.

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