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A Dark Wind

A Dark Wind

by Andy Davis / 06.08.2009

A few years ago I did a series of interviews with Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, perhaps South Africa’s most revered Sangoma. It was the height of Mbeki’s arc of power. Zimbabwe was imploding. Dr Beetroot was in charge of the Aids. The ANC had visibly shifted from principled leadership to a partisan dealership. Things have changed since, shifted ever so slightly. Zuma has replaced Mbeki, Obama has swapped seats with Bush, Africa’s longest self-serving dictator Omar Bongo, of Gabon, is dead… and yet through it all Mugabe, again, has managed to cling on.

“The thing is, no one really knows anything in this modern world.” Says Credo Mutwa, “You don’t know what links there are between who and who. All I do know, sir,”
He always calls you sir, this time-wizened Sangoma, a high Sanusi, so polite and erudite. We’re sitting in his living room on a small holding in the Magaliesberg, outside Johannesburg. He has subsequently moved to Kuruman in the Northern Cape. My friend, Nikhil Singh, the musician and artist, came with me on this assignment, he is drawing a portrait of the man while we talk. Credo continues:
“All I do know, sir, is that earthly power is like a baboon falling upon the back of a leopard. If you have become a man of power and you treated people very badly at one time, as Mugabe did, you can’t get off the leopard of power. You do not dare. So what Mugabe is doing, is something that any cruel person would do. He dare not get off power. Because the moment he climbs down the relatives of the people he killed would take vengeance. Especially now that there are courts which try people who commit genocide. He can’t get off, he dare not get off – and his people are going to suffer until death closes his eyes.”

“Why do you think the South African government is supporting him?” I ask.

“I don’t know sir. Who knows what politicians think? Who knows what strange things go on behind the scenes. I don’t know why Mugabe is being supported, quite frankly sir, I don’t want to know. We have got Aids sweeping through the land and we know that Aids is pushed by the dark wind of hunger. I don’t understand why our leaders are acting this way. You would think that they would all fight to create as much food for South Africa as they can. They don’t. There are African foodstuffs which grow, even when the land is dry. Our mothers used to feed us on those foodstuffs when we were children. Now I see our people’s hands are tied. This at a very very critical time in our country’s history. I just can’t understand why our leaders are acting in this un-African way. Who is behind all of this? Who pulls the strings behind the scenery that we see? It’s incredible, it’s amazing. It’s shocking.”

He looks away, as if the interview’s subject matter is causing him acute physical pain.

Credo Mutwa
Illustration by Nikhil Singh

“When I look at the Middle East, I cry.” He continues after a while. “When I look at what Bush has done, I cry. When I look at what the Jews are doing to the Palestinians and the Palestinians are doing to the Jews, I cry. I do not see any reason why these things should be going on. Really, a man in Africa should not concern himself about what is going on in Palestine or Israel or Iraq or Iran – but there is one terrible thing. Whenever the Christian nations of this world and the Muslim nations of this planet draw swords against each other, it is Africa who sheds tears of blood. It is our people who die. It has been so since the days of the Crusades, right up to now. Since time immemorial Africa has been the bloodied scapegoat.”
Again he pauses. The air is a thick, theatrical silence.

“This is why I hate myself so much.” He continues. “Why does God show me all this, if it is God. Why can’t he give me the power to stop this holocaust. Why? Why don’t people listen. You know what one newspaper called me? A doom prophet. I am no doom prophet, I am just a man who sees. I am told, ‘stop this thing,’ but how the hell can I stop it. Who am I anyway? Nobody listens to me. And I see my country marching slowly towards the end. Anyone sir, who cares for South Africa and her people. Anyone who realises what we are, where we are standing in history now, can tell you that we need peace in South Africa. South Africa needs to guide herself and guide the whole of Africa along the road of peace. We need peace in Southern Africa because we are standing on the edge of a precipice.”

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RESPONSES (18)
  1. Guy says:

    Quintessentially Credo, you captured him in a beautiful, honest way. Very intense article – it carries the weight of the Sanusi.

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  2. trixie says:

    To answer all Credo’s why’s:

    1) “Why does God show me all this, if it is God.” [there is no god]
    2. “Why can’t he give me the power to stop this holocaust. Why?” [see above]
    3. “Why don’t people listen?” [because you’re just another factless fool]
    4. “…but how the hell can I stop it?” [you can’t, and you can’ ‘see’ either, at least not in any non-traditional sense]]
    5. “Anyone who realises what we are, where we are standing in history now, can tell you that we need peace in South Africa.” [cheers. we need peace? no kidding. wish i’d thought of that]

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  3. Andy says:

    Wow Trixie, such anger for the old man… I’d file this under “rhetorical lament”

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  4. Carol Reed says:

    Trixie, you’re focusing on the strings.

    The perception that Credo is trying to shatter is that we have peace at this time. Now you and I may think that we don’t but many live by that illusion. And the people who he is speaking to are as God fearing as himself, so in essence, he’s asking them to return to the values that define this belief system.

    Now we could go on and on about the values of that belief system’s church doctrine, but the actual values that Christ expounded are actually quite good rules for getting on with others, whether you believe in him or not.

    But all that aside, yes we need peace, we need people to realise that we don’t have peace and we need people who attack those who call for peace to realise that they’re not being conducive to peace.

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  5. djf says:

    Is this the same Carol Reed who directed The Third Man? Seems possible.

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  6. KS says:

    TRIXIE PLEASE GET A LIFE… MAYBE WHEN YOU DO YOU WILL SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY.

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  7. Carol Reed says:

    The Cuckoo Clock!

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  8. @nnie says:

    AWESOME! Thanks for sharing Ramon. Love Nikhil’s art too.
    Many of this wonderful prophet’s questions are answered in http://www.matthewbooks.com
    Matthew Ward resides mostly in Nirvana (Heaven), but also visits other civilizations in other Universes & is definitely my Heavenly mentor. Catch his wisdom in his monthly messages, per kind favour of his dearest Mom, Suzy Ward on the same website under ‘Matthew’s Messages’.
    LONG LIVE our most precious gift, CREDO. 🙂
    With love & abundant LIGHT,
    ~@nnie~

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  9. lisa says:

    Only slightly off topic, but a few years back i tried to get hold of one of credo mutwa’s several published books, The Song of The Stars, his work on sangoma-hood, african traditional religion, and so on, and it wasn’t even available to order in SA!
    Come on! one of our living legends! Artist, sangoma, storyteller, etc…
    Why was this? no-one can answer…

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  10. Andy says:

    What I heard, and maybe this needs some more investigation, is that Credo has been largely screwed by his book publishers

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  11. Graeme Feltham says:

    The old man is simply a hebephrenic schizophrenic, playing himself as the ideation of the biblical Jeremiah.His conflating conflict analysis with bush stories leads to his self-imposed pain.

    Still Credo’s leopard metaphor regarding Mugabe is spot-on, but it’s a partial eclipse. After you have perpetrated so much harm you dare not let go off the reins, but that does not speak to the old scars and wounds he carries on his body.

    When Mugabe came to power he halved the infant mortality rate and raised education to a magical 100%. So what went wrong? Well no one actually knows? Let’s point at the paranoia about the remnants of a colonialism that howled like a baby that should have be thrown out with the bath water. It has obviously jiggled his neurons – to a state of moral catatonia. Or maybe when his stride changed on TV in the early 90s – left side of body lagging – that could have been the stroke that kapped his corpus collosum into permanent dementia.

    Ag, but it couldn’t have been a stroke. Tyrants are mos immortal, aren’t they?

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  12. Glen Rhulani Nkuna says:

    Credo is getting old and South African public including our government has not payed enough attention to the prophecies of this elder until today. All i am saying is we need to listen to our prophets and have an analytical thinking on what they prophesizing and then take action rather that sweeping everything they said under the carpet.
    If people like Elder Credo pass away, who will be there to teach the younger ones, so its up to us adults to carry this knowledge and pass it on to the future generation. WE NEED TO PRESEVE OUR TRUE AFRICAN HISTORY, cause if we dont know our real history, then we dont know where we are going. God bless our PROPHETS.

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  13. Stepanie says:

    With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation?
    My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being ripped off? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    My webpage; Workmen Quotes (Stepanie)

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  14. Rolie says:

    What an Incredible Old man.I liked his Reptilian Agenda interview

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  15. Anonymous says:

    The great Nelson Mandela has left us… fortunately we still have the likes of Ntate Credo Mutwa… but what are we doing about it?
    Are we going to wait until its too late to take into consideration what he predicted… or still predicts???
    South Africa please wake up!!!
    somebody please give him a chance!!!

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  16. Kenn says:

    Sad that he won’t get a chance under Pres. Zuma, Zuma owes the ARV capitalists!!! We need to give our natural herbs a chance, in conjunction with a balanced nutrition, maybe they could be better than the toxic drugs!!! Viva Credo Muthwa!

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  17. Blaqrose says:

    Can we AFRIKANS please LISTEN to the last few wise Forefathers of our Afrikan Continent, we can not only learn of our origins and true history as told by our Fathers and Mothers but we can save Afrikan humanity culture and bring back dignity to this God forsaken land.Anyway I pitty those who ridicule and laugh at Baba Credo Mutwa its funny because it wont be so funny when devastating reality hits them in the face.Its only sad that Baba Credo will still be weeping for his children LISTEN LETS LISTEN AND REBUILD Thank You for the piece and knowledge .Graeme Feltham is an asshole excuse my language I am highly offended at your comments , difference in opinion is okay but such disrespekt to an elder a wise one shame on you, maybe you are dead already anyway ..

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  18. 45 by 5 says:

    Damn,this is getting dangerous… when I saw credo and Ike I could not sleep.ironically though, my family was off to limpopo to see my great grand mother.

    I begged and pleaded dont go there,please!!!!

    next thing you know you here u baba credo
    breaking down myths like pinky pinky into a real conspiracy, live and effect. wow I still cant sleep credo’s forbidden and deep discussions can leave the most concious of men paralyzed.

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