Tributes pour in for renowned storyteller and traditional healer Credo Mutwa

Credo Mutwa.
Credo Mutwa.
Image: GALLO Images/Daily Sun

“He was a great spiritual leader. We have lost a critical reservoir of indigenous knowledge.”

This is how Contralesa secretary-general Zolani Mkiva described renowned traditional leader Credo Mutwa, who died on Wednesday morning at the age of 98.

Mkiva said the organisation was saddened by his passing.

Born Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, the traditional healer was respected countrywide. He is known as an author of books that draw upon African mythology.

His most recent work is a graphic novel called The Tree of Life Trilogy, based on the writings of his most famous book, Indaba, my Children. In 2018 he was honoured with an USIBA award presented by the department of arts & culture for his work in indigenous wisdom. Indaba, My Children was both a commercial and critical success after selling over 250,000 copies in SA alone.

In addition, Mutwa also pursued his talents as a painter and sculptor.

Mkiva described Mutwa as a “library” for his wealth of knowledge.

“He knew how to balance spirituality and modernity. We wish to express our deepest condolences to his immediate family and to say his spirit must live on. We will forever be indebted to him for his lessons,” Mkiva said.

Mutwa would be remembered for his “outstanding” leadership role, Mkiva said.

“We will never forget his role in life and times.”

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said the country had lost one of its finest sons.

“He devoted most of his energy towards preserving African culture, and challenging the tendency to relegate African cultural practices and beliefs to myths and superstitions. The once vibrant storyteller and traditional healer is respected for his role in advocating for the use of traditional medicines and discovering the origins of mankind.

“This great South African will be remembered for his predictions of key world events, including the assassination of Chris Hani, the 1976 June 16 uprisings, and other key political developments in the country,” Mabe said.

Tributes for Mutwa poured in on social media as soon as news of his passing was made public.

“Bab’ Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa; I’m so touched, I knew this was coming soon as I heard he was sick. Thank you for everything, for being a guardian and keeper of ancient knowledge, for Indaba my children and other books. Ascend freely to be with the great spirit again,” said actress Samkelo Ndlovu.

Mase Cha said: “This man taught me so much about African pride and religion ... M so touched too when we lose such great minds ... it's sad he passed on when so many Black folks don't know much about him.”

“Rest In Peace Ntate Credo Mutwa! An African giant and pioneer. May your teachings extend for generations to come,” said social media activist Tumi Sole.

Last year, then arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa described Mutwa as “a living human treasure” when he scheduled a visit to his home at Magojaneng in Mothibistad, Kuruman, in the Northern Cape, as part of the department's Living Human Treasure Project.