The Absolute Truth is as timeless as the Baobab. Its roots deep in Mother Earth connecting all living things. It carries the profound wisdom of our ancestors from the beginning of time. It’s passed on to a select group of wisdom keepers.
Such a man is Credo Mutwa. He is a traditional healer. Recognised by his peers across Africa as a Prophet. He is a Doctor. Medicine man. Diviner. Scientist. Storyteller. Psychologist. Clairvoyant. Artist. Sculptor. He is a Baobab.
Credo Mutwa is a national treasure. He should be celebrated. He is Shakespearean in his command of the language and African mythology. He is a philosopher and a prophesier. He carries the secret knowledge of our continent. His cosmology is a lodestar to us regaining our balance and harmony in Africa and as the human race.
Would his knowledge and wisdom be studied in schools and universities, we would have doctors of Life. People who know what it means to be human. And be kind. Humankind needs to study “baobabism”. It’s a way of life, not a religion.
I see the symbiosis between Mandela’s secular political journey and Mutwa’s magical mythology. Inextricably linked, it gives us a clearer picture of South Africa.
Secular and political meet the realm of the magical and spiritual. It is a key to restoring harmony and peace. South Africa is the laboratory of the world. Where North meets South and East meets West. It is the key to our Future. It’s a key that Mandela left us to decode. But there were a few keys. Finding Purpose. Finding Commonality. Learning to Forgive.
The Spirits of both these great leaders connected us to the truth. Mutwa’s words are so obvious:
“I feel people should communicate. People should tell each other the truth about themselves. Much of the conflict in the world is caused by ignorance because all wars are caused by ignorance, fear and hatred, and hatred is the ugly daughter of the evil witch of ignorance.”
They echo Nelson Mandela’s plea for forgiveness and reconciliation, based on human values of integrity and humility.
Mutwa openly calls for change: “I would prefer that we should be a nation of doers instead of people wasting so much vocal energy in the empty air around us.”
I wonder why we ignore our African heritage and even deny our roots. And we wonder why we are lost. Africa is drowning in a limbo of hopelessness, despair, besieged by a sense of subservience to the west, east and north. Every place except the continent that birthed humanity.”
“Somebody has to have the guts to grab the human race by the scruff of its neck and show it a positive direction. A direction away from the slow drift to annihilation,” implores Mutwa.
“The future can be changed. We are all brothers and sisters, the children of one father and one mother. Treat children and animals with kindness, and pass this wisdom on to generations to come and I assure you there will come a time when our grandchildren, or our great grandchildren, will live in a world of beauty and harmony. And they will hear a far-off music, a beautiful, cosmic music, that will lift them beyond all fear, suffering and limitation, into a universal brotherhood, beyond this little world and its fearful dreams. That music is the Song of the Stars. Indaba.”
This is timeless wisdom of Elders who hold such deep knowledge that spans millennia. Passed on in secret traditions and rituals. These are technologies as old as humankind itself. The burning of impepho or sage, to cleanse and call in ancestral spirits, to guide and assist the resolutions of disputes, conflicts, illness, to celebrate a birth, death or different rites of passage are common across all spiritual traditions. It’s the first mobile phone. Still a lot more advanced than our technology.
Mutwa worries where our technology going: “Science has to be brought back into the realm of spirituality so that it can wear the blanket and feel the caress of spirituality and have a reverence for the world and all that dwell in it.”
But the digital revolution sees technological progress as a goal within itself. Always striving for bigger, better, faster. Success has become material accumulation.
We strive for dominion over Mother Nature. We have lost the essence of our Purpose in Stewardship. And as our technology advances the spiritual consciousness descends. Mutwa explains that “our human responsibility is stewardship of Mother Earth for all the living species who inhabit it”.
He warns of climate change: “In these coming times the world’s nations face a great task. To reverse the effects of pollution and try to save cities like Cape Town, London and others from being flooded by the big waters which will be coming.”
I wonder about this great African Prophet. Why have we not learnt more from him? His sacrifices are as great as those faced by the Mandela generation. And at many times it was at the hands of our activists who wanted him to choose sides in our war. His home and sacred shrine in Soweto was destroyed, his fiancée was gunned down by apartheid police and his son, Innocent Mutwa, was necklaced by angry youth in the 1976 Soweto Uprisings. And then his wife Cecilia was murdered in hospital.
Credo Mutwa is above politics. His role is to create the safe space within which mortal enemies can find each other. He is the spiritual alter ego of Mandela the freedom fighter and statesman. Both wield the sword of truth but in different realms.
He elaborates how indigenous knowledge systems hold the key to saving our human species before we drown in the tsunami of our greed. That a sangoma is a “healer” of all maladies facing us and in Nature. They connect us to the thread of life on Mother Earth. Indigenous cultures barely count as 4% of our world’s population but they are at the forefront of 80% of the environmental struggles of the world.
Mutwa’s Song of Initiation says: “There shall arise out of the ashes of man, a newer man who shall rule the far stars, carrying with him the seven laws of love, and first and the greatest law of God – doing unto others as you would have them do unto you – will be the law of the time. I have no message more important than this. All people, all nations, must seriously work for peace on this Earth.”
The time has come to tap into the wisdom of indigenous knowledge that healers like Credo Mutwa represent.
Acknowledgement Jay Naidoo in the Daily Maverick
Jay Naidoo is founding General Secretary of Cosatu, former Minister in Mandela Government and former Chair of GAIN, a Global Foundation Fighting malnutrition in the World