Credo Mutwa Literary Tourist Spot Print
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 16:39

By Rasvanth Chunylall


For KZN literary tourists interested in Zulu folklore and - in particular - the life of Zulu sangoma (traditional healer) Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, a trip to the Durban Botanic Gardens is worth a visit. Besides being a hotspot for indigenous and rare plant-life from around the world, Durban's oldest public institution and Africa's oldest surviving botanical gardens pays tribute to one of the province's most enigmatic authors.

According to his KZN Literary Tourism profile, Mutwa has written African tales which have their roots in oral, traditional Zulu culture. Two well known collections of these stories are Indaba My Children (1966) and My People: writings of a Zulu Witchdoctor (1969).

The Botanic Gardens host a sculpture entitled "Captive of the Beginning":



The accompanying plaque narrates the following:



Captive of the Beginning

The inspiration for this sculpture was from a story told by Credo Mutwa, the renowned Zulu Sangoma  from his book 'Zulu Shaman'. The carving is from a Jacaranda tree, incorporating some of the root structure.

The sculpture represents a moment in time when the Mother of all Mankind, Ninhavanhu - Ma was held captive for 50 years by the Tree of life, Sima-Kade.

This was a commissioned artwork created by Keith Roderick for the Durban installation at 'The Chelsea Flower Show' in England 2009 which won a Gold Award.


Mutwa continues to remain relevant. In 2015 a documentary based on his life story, The Voice of Africa: Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa, was screened at the Native American Film & Video Festival. This year a musical production (Song of Nongoma), which was based on his writings, premiered at the South African State Theatre.