December 12, 2008
Sowetan Prophecy & Poetry
We hear from Prophet at the Credo Mutwa Cultural Village, an outdoor museum tucked in a hillside park in the Jabavu section of Soweto. The village is named after its creator, an artist, author and healer who began building the structures and sculptures in 1974.
The sculpture garden, also called Khayalendaba, or "Place of Stories," was empty when we arrived, but suddenly Prophet appeared to lead us on an oral journey. He provided mythical and religious meanings for the sculptures and symbols while weaving a tale of history and consequences, fables told and dreams interpreted, lessons learned, an amusing section on masculine and feminine energy, all delivered with passion and often with poetic energy, meter and heat.
The space is surrounded by a park with a landscaped garden and, at the top of the hill, the Oppenheimer Tower, which gives a full view of Soweto and beyond. The tower is named after a mining magnate who donated money for the construction of houses to replace shacks in the township.We are reminded by Prophet countless times that the space is a sacred one.
Credo Mutwa is one of the many recent success stories of Soweto, rescued from disrepair in the last few years and restored with the help of some of the original builders.
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