OPINION: A balanced memory of Credo Mutwa would serve posterity better
When a great icon passes on, we often suffer from this toxic analytical dyslexia of not giving a balanced account of their memory because we want to kindly allow those that consider him family to mourn or alternatively, we suffer from being blind hero worshippers of the deceased. This tendency is sometimes understandable in apologetic African culture and discourse, but in this era of radical pedagogy laced on talking truth to power and critical memory banking, we have a historic responsibility as open-minded revolutionaries to give a balanced view of our heroes when they pass on without an agenda of disrespect.
We did it with the greatest icons of African politics in modern history through Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe as we acknowledged their weaknesses against their strengths, observing that they were both progressive but not saints in their contribution to our liberation struggle in this continent. The same critical litmus test must apply to the Great Sanusi, Vasamazulu Credo Mutwa for posterity to store his memory with a balanced view.
To his credit, Credo Mutwa warned us against the colossal reptilian agenda which Khonsu Nok contends was not a literal reference to whites as reptiles but to the reptilian part of our brain the R-Complex and the need to rise above it, as otherwise, we would be worshiping our lower self. As a creative and sculptor, Credo built three monumental cultural villages, from Soweto to Lotlamoreng in Mahikeng and past on in his last one in Magojaneng in Kuruman in one vibrant lifetime of 98 years. These were knowledge giving cultural villages through which he invested in teaching young Africans about the correct inexhaustible history of their continent and the need to break away from Eurocentric teachings.
Furthermore, no amount of critical analysis can take away the fact that Credo Mutwa, who some revered as a profound Zulu Kemetic High Priest, was an insurmountable multi-disciplinary Africologist who opened our eyes as Africans to a lot of history and complex philosophical questions that has left us wiser in the voluminous pages of the eight or more books that he penned. These piercing tomes, that ranged from Indaba My Children, The Zulu Shaman, Let Not My Country Die, Isilwane and Reality Of The Serpent Race were written from deep-seated knowledge about African historiography and complex global philosophy that as students of the African Renaissance Project we must learn from to succeed in the reverberation of our embattled continent without losing our ability to critically engage. Credo Mutwa was a powerful walking encyclopedia that knew and interpreted all the sacred sites in this continent and possessed the knowledge to compare them with other sacred sites beyond Africa in his comparative study about African self-knowledge.
However, as a critical dialectic about the retrogressive side of his character, he has not sufficiently explained his views on the June 16 uprisings except to claim that he was misunderstood for supporting the regime. Why has no one disputed with evidence the assertion by Sibusiso Buthelezi that Credo was used on Radio Zulu to criticize the protest against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in our schools as a basis for that historic uprising? Why is Buthelezi left unchallenged by historians having accused the Great Sanusi that he said the June 1976 youth was being used by the communists.
If it is true that he foresaw the death of Chris Hani why did he not approach him to warn this freedom fighter that Janus Walus was coming for his life on the 10 April 1993? Does this confirm Buthelezi’s assertion that he despised communists that the likes of Chris Hani was? If he rose to the occasion of his premonitions, today Chris Hani would be alive, and our country would have possibly experienced his leadership at the highest level.
Perhaps after Thabo Mbeki we would have had a Chris Hani Presidency and not experienced the regression that was posed by Polokwane. A true leftist would have taken over the ruling party and we would have been nudged in a more genuine leftist direction as opposed to the radical economic transformation pretenders using this narrative to blindfold the system and loot from our people.
The problem with a lot of prognosticators, fortunetellers or future seers is that they want their predictions to come true so that they can be remembered for their prophecy. This is selfish discourse that does not help society to ready itself to curb disaster. If it is true as some say that Credo foresaw COVID-19 he should have warned us early enough to close our borders and change behavioral patterns in modern society, now these seers keep quiet, people die and they want us to celebrate them for having known that death is coming before all us notwithstanding the conspiracy theories of this being a chemical warfare waged by imperialists on humanity. This thing of seeing danger and not warning your fellow beings is selfish and treasonous. If Credo was a seeyer who kept his predictions to be revered later then he too was selfish with his talent.
If Mkhulu Mutwa was not an apartheid apologist, then one of his students must explain why he found it easy to accept an invitation from an apartheid spy in the form of Lucas Mangope who gave him a home in Letlamoreng Dam after he fled the angry African youth in Soweto in the aftermath of the 1976 uprisings. The Bophuthatswana that Mangope led was a pariah state that served to legitimise white rule in the eyes of a world that had declared apartheid a crime against humanity. Why did Mkhulu Mutwa tell Mangope that his time of running a Bantustan was up only when it was obvious that his regime was falling? Why did The Great Sanusi not harbour those that fought against Mangope and his bosses in Pretoria who desperately needed places to hide? These are the critical questions we must ask about our heroes when they pass on because a balanced memory search instead of funeral praise poetry will serve posterity better not to repeat similar mistakes of spineless politicking from the icons of our people.
Thato wa Magogodi is the author of The Scam-Talk-Tionary and former head of political education in the ANC – North West Province writing in his personal capacity