Famed Zulu traditional healer, Credo Mutwa passes at 98

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South Africa mourns the passing of one their most noted spiritual healers. 

On Wednesday, the Credo Mutwa Foundation released a statement on Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa’s passing:

uBaba Mutwa was rushed to Kuruman Hospital, on Tuesday, 24 March 2020 where he passed on in the early hours of Wednesday, 25 March 2020. At the age of 98 his health has been fragile and has been in and out of hospital in recent days.

Mutwa, known as a storyteller, was also a painter, sculptor and author. In his personal narratives, he wove African mythology, Zulu folklore and his encounters with meta-humans and extraterrestrial beings.  

“Africa has lost one of its finest sons whose contribution to our country and continent remains immeasurable,” African National Congress spokesperson Pule Mabe said.

He continued. “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.”

Both a beloved and controversial figure, Mutwa was the first to talk about chronic child sexual abuse in Catholic-run orphanages in Africa, as he was a survivor. He also survived being kidnapped then brutally raped by a gang of miners at 14-years-old. It was the healings of his traditionalist grandfather that set Mutwa’s path to be the most popular Sangoma in the world. Throughout his career, he gained respect as a curator of African artifacts and a spiritual leader in the country. As well, he was outspoken on child abuse and violence against women.

| Read: South African miners sickened by working conditions |

Traditional Zulu warrior dance.

The life of a Sangoma

Mutwa was born July 21, 1921 in Zululand to a traditionalist single mother who fell in love with a Christian-converted father. Because their marriage was forbidden, Mutwa’s mother was sent to live with her aunt until she gave birth.

Mutwa would endure a series of traumatizing events as a young African boy, but was taken in by his grandfather who used traditional practices to heal him. From there, Mutwa continued as a Zulu healer. He prophesied important events such as the June 16, 1978 uprising in Soweto, and kept Zulu traditional systems alive when Catholic missionaries worked to erase all of South Africa’s indigenous culture.

|Read: Morning period continues in South Africa: Body of Winnie Mandela prepared in Xhosa tradition |

In 1975, he petitioned to open a living museum in Soweto, where he created sculptures and traditional shrines on the property. For decades, it operated as a cultural village for tourists. By the 80s, Mutwa’s teachings traveled outside of the South Africa, and were embraced in the West by New Age spirituality, and those who studied traditional African spirituality.

In 2000, at the age of 79, Mutwa, who was now recognized as a Sangoma, a traditional Zulu healer, announced efforts to create the first African traditional medicine HIV/AIDS hospital in the Magaliesberg, a town in the Northwest province of South Africa. His project was thwarted, according to Mutwa, by local white farmers who warned they would burn the “kaffir” building down if he built it. One of Mutwa’s sons and a daughter succumbed to HIV/AIDS. His daughter contracted the disease when she was raped.

At the time of Mutwa’s death, he lived with his wife, Virginia, in a small village called Magojaneng in Kuruman, a town in the Northern Cape of South Africa, running a hospice. Burial arrangements have yet to be announced.

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