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Thokoza, gogo: Sanusi Credo Mutwa's death mourned

Known for his predictions of the Soweto Uprising, his invaluable contribution to preserving African knowledge and healing, Mutwa waited years for a decent house from government.

Credo Muthwa: Picture: Credo Mutwa Foundation/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - As the arts fraternity and country mourns renowned healer, prophet, author, cultural activist and historian Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa on Wednesday, his wife Virginia described him as a fountain of knowledge - who was adamant to share African history with the youth.

Bab' Mutwa, as he was affectionately known, died on Wednesday morning at the age of 98.

He was known for his predictions of historic events such as the Soweto Uprising of 1976, the 1993 assassination of Chris Hani, conflict between the United States and Iran, the bombing of the twin towers in the US, and the ousting of former President Thabo Mbeki.

Eyewitness News visited the Mutwa home in the Northern Cape months before his passing.

EWN's visit to the Mutwa home in Magojaneng in Kuruman was sparked by reports of his home that was being renovated by the Northern Cape Arts and Culture Department, being left incomplete for months.

His signature sculptures and rondavels made it easy to find the house. At the time, Mutwa and his wife were living in a small room opposite their property, and government officials had only just resumed renovations to the property.

His wife, Virginia, spoke fondly of Mutwa's award-winning literature and sculptures which gained him the recognition from government and artists from around the world.

"My husband used to say he did not want to act like he is superior to anyone else. He believed that he was equal to the youngest child and to the oldest man. He did not believe in class and status," she said.

Three months later, Mutwa's house was completed and while his wife was delighted, Mutwa himself was too ill to enjoy living in it.

Today, tributes from organisations like the African Transformation Movement have started streaming in, with the party describing Mutwa as a hero and a stalwart for African originality.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sorrow on Wednesday upon hearing of Mutwa's death.

“On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and supporters of Bab’ Credo, “ said Ramaphosa in a statement.

“We have lost one of our most ardent champions of African cultural heritage preservation, who dedicated his life to fighting ignorance of our African customs,” the president said. “Our country is the poorer at his passing, but he leaves behind a vast body of work and a wealth of knowledge that we will continue to study and learn from in years to come,” the president added.

Mutwa was also a cultural activist and prolific author. His work recorded and explained African legends, customs and religious beliefs. His first book, Indaba, My Children sold over 250,000 copies.

“As a nation, we pay homage to Bab’ Credo who throughout his life affirmed the necessity for us as Africans to take pride in our customs and cultural heritage, even as colonial and apartheid authorities sought to denigrate them,” Ramaphosa added.

In 2018, he was a recipient of the Department of Arts and Culture’s Usiba Award.

“In his honour, I call upon all South Africans to acquaint themselves with Bab’ Credo’s work, of which the foundation that bears his name is a repository,” Ramaphosa said.