Celebrated South African author and Zulu sangoma (traditional healer) Credo Mutwa died following a period of illness on March 25 at 98 years old. On the evening of his passing Mmatshilo Motsei of Newzroom Afrika’s Your View said “The thing about writers is that writers don’t die.” Photo: Oupa Nkosi
The writer, whose full name is Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, dedicated his life and work to preserve African cultural practices and mythology. Mutwa was interested in the Africa that existed before colonisation. His first book, Indaba, My Children (1964), is a collection of African myths and legends, and was a response to injustices against Africans and African culture. The book hailed both critical and commercial success, over a quarter of a million copies were sold in South Africa.
Mutwa’s works include Zulu Shaman: Dreams, Prophecies, and Mysteries (previously published as The Song of Stars: The Lore of a Zulu Shaman), a book that shares his personal experiences as a sangoma and offers insight into Zulu cosmology, as well as a graphic novel, The Tree of Life Trilogy, based on a tale in Indaba, My Children.
In 2017 he was given the South African Literary Awards Lifetime Achievement Literary Award , and a USIBA award, which was given to him by the South African Department of Arts and Culture, in 2018.