Zulu Shaman: Dreams, Prophecies, and Mysteries

Zulu Shaman: Dreams, Prophecies, and Mysteries by Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, Stephen Larsen, Luisah Teish. Published 2003

Offers a rare view into the world of a Zulu shaman. Includes 14 Zulu myths as told by a traditional Zulu story keeper • Reveals Zulu shamanic practices, including healing techniques, dreamwork, oracles, prophecy, and interactions with star beings • New Edition of Song of the Stars • 12 b&w illustrations.

In this rare window into Zulu mysticism, Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa breaks the bonds of traditional silence to share his personal experiences as a sangoma-a Zulu shaman. Set against the backdrop of post-colonial South Africa, Zulu Shaman relays the first-person accounts of an African healer and reveals the cosmology of the Zulu.

Mutwa begins with the compelling story of his personal journey as an English-trained Christian schoolteacher who receives a calling to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps as a shaman and keeper of folklore. He then tells the stories of his ancestors, including creation myths; how evil came to the world; the adventures of the trickster god Kintu; and Zulu relations with the “fiery visitors,” whom he likens to extraterrestrials. In an attempt to preserve the knowledge of his ancestors and encourage his vision of a world united in peace and harmony, Mutwa also shares previously guarded secrets of Zulu healing and spiritual practices: including the curing power of the sangoma and the psychic powers of his people.

Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa resides in Pretoria, South Africa, near Johannesburg, where he continues to sculpt, paint, and teach Zulu lore. His book Indaba, My Children has become a classic of African literature. Editor Stephen Larsen, Ph.D., is the author of The Mythic Imagination, Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind, and The Shaman’s Doorway. He is a practicing psychotherapist and lives in New Paltz, New York.

The Sangoma’s Apprentice

Mynah and my grandfather between them taught me how to refine my skill of healing and divination and diagnosis of illness. My grandfather taught me the art of the divining bones—bits of seashell, animal bones and bits of ivory, which an African witch doctor throws in order to foretell the future or to find out what the patient’s problem is. My grandfather also taught me how to control my powers of seeing and how to sharpen them and to make them more accurate and efficient. He taught me the art of breathing properly. He taught me the secret art of joining my mind to that of the great gods in the unseen world. He taught me how to sit still—very, very still—and eliminate all the thoughts from my mind and call upon the hidden powers of my soul. . . .
My grandfather taught me that there are many ways by which one can reach the ultimate truth that is at the full extent of one’s mental powers. He told me that I could either do it painfully by depriving myself of food and drink and by causing my body to suffer as much as possible, or I could do it through the medium of joy, of happiness and ecstasy. I chose to experiment with both these two ways. Sometimes I fasted and tortured my body until I felt like a prisoner undergoing savage interrogation. Sometimes I used the joyous way, as it is called, in which I sat down and thought only beautiful thoughts and ate pure food sparingly and drank only pure cool water and that also very sparingly.
Strange vistas opened in my mind. I no longer was afraid of the fearsome visions that I saw; rather I worked with them, and saw them as useful guides which greatly strengthened and broadened my perception, not only of the world in which I lived, but also of the entire cosmos.
My grandfather told me that a sangoma must be able to draw knowledge from what he called “the Hidden Lake.” There is, he said, a huge unseen lake somewhere in the spirit world where all the knowledge of the universe—past, present, and future—is to be found.
“Knowledge lives in that lake in the form of little silver fishes,” my grandfather said. “You must never never again say that you do not know something. You must just ask the lake, the unseen lake, to provide you with the knowledge that you seek. You are a Child of God, you were created by God. Even the Christians tell you, ‘All things are possible.’ Because you are a tiny tiny fragment of God Almighty, all things are possible to you also.” This is what my grandfather taught me. Even so, to my still-Christian mind some things sounded like blasphemy.
One day I very rudely confronted my grandfather with this question: “How could God be almighty and I also be almighty?” My grandfather controlled his fierce Zulu temper and he said to me, “Come out” and immediately I obeyed.
We went out of the grass hut and my grandfather pointed towards the west and said, “Look over there, what do you see?”
I said, “Grandfather, I see mountains.”
My grandfather said, “Yes, you see mountains.”
And then he took a piece of sandstone and thrust into my hand. He said, “What is this?”
I said, “My grandfather, it is a stone.”
My grandfather said, “Look, this stone is a fragment of one of those mountains. This stone contains within it all the characteristics of those mountains over there.” My grandfather knocked the stone out of my hands and then he said, “Come on, follow me.”
I followed him. He came to his favorite tree, which was a fig tree that he had planted as a young man and which was now tall and producing a lot of beautiful fruit. My grandfather said, “What is this?”
I said, “Grandfather, this is a tree.”
My grandfather struck me across the face and said, “Listen you little dog, this is not a tree, this is a person. Do you understand me? In old Africa, in the land of the ancient Zulus, in my time when I was a young man, we never used to call trees ‘trees’ but rather ‘growing people’. This is a person.
“Have you seen me standing next to this tree on certain days?” he demanded.
I said, “Yes, grandfather.”
“What have you seen me doing here?” he asked again.
“Grandfather, I have seen you touching the trunk of this tree, and at one time I saw you taking snuff out of your snuff horn with your snuff spoon and pouring it at the foot of this tree.”
My grandfather laughed, a gap-toothed, cruel laugh. He said, “Now what did you think I was doing, you little Christian rubbish? Did you think that I was worshipping the tree? Did you think that I thought the tree was my God?”
I said, “No, grandfather.”
Another blow flew across my face and snapped my head back.
My grandfather said, “Listen, I was worshipping the tree. I was talking to the tree. I was sharing my snuff with the tree, and I often share any good news that I happen to have with the tree. I sing to it, I praise it, I thank it—and see the fat figs that it produces for us because I talk to the tree and I believe that it is a person. Do you understand?”
I said, “Yes, grandfather.”

. . . .There is nothing supernatural, everything is natural.

Incoming search terms:

  • I want to read more of Bab’Zulus’ books,but they are not available where i live in Vosloorus or any plce near and i also have no capital.

  • bongani

    This story adds new meaning to the biblical scripture of Jesus healing a blind man. When Jesus touched his eyes the first time, Jesus asked the man what did he see? The man responded “I see men as trees walking”. Mark 8:24

  • what is bab’u credo’s belief on the great snake that inhabits the dams and sacred lakes in south africa, it may be known as inkanyamba, mamlambo, noga ya metsi. why is it that it cannot be seen without it taking(wooing)at you with fury and killing you.

  • Viizion

    Credo Is just simply & evolved human of the highest order!. One of probably the only one left. So called Heads of Goverment of this world Should not only bow @ his feet but also send Emissaries to get guidance & direction in helping to fix the Global mess that they have put us in.If they truly want a solution. Credo is the answer.If not I 4see nothing but Global devastation on the scale of Biblical proportion’s. We are again in the day’s of Noah .But this time it wont be water!!! Hail Credo may the God of creation continue to bless you with long life. I only wish that you can leave other sucesso’rs & past on your vast knowledge… I am humbly 1 of your student’s. And there are so many more craving for your wisdom!!! Hail Credo !! A true Son of the Almighty!!! We need & want a Credo University!!! Were it is all Credo’s teachings & not the other so called mis-education. We want to birth true scholar’s that can go to the four corners of this world. As soldier’s of light & righteousness!! And wake up the masse’s from their sleep & slumber!!! We love you sincerly Credo!! For all your pain & suffering you have gone through to bring such truly great knowledge that was once hidden & almost lost .But you remain a torch in absolute darkness! You have acheived your place forever in time & space your are immortal!! Yet so humble !!! We remain in your grattitude even unto the unborn !!!! Words cant express our love & respect. Thank You Baba !!

  • Honourable Credo Vusamazulu Muthwa is such a phenomenal, great, divine man. His writings are informative, educative and above all mind-sharpening so to say. He had managed to the values of Afrikan people so protected and respected the world over. His knowledge of Afrika and her lot is immeasurable. However, how can one be in touch with the man of honour for that matter? Anybody with contact details, please help!My contact details are mahlabasm@yahoo.com or 072 6353252. Long live Credo!Unwele olude!

  • Honorable Credo Muthwa,

    I am so honored justto know that you exist. All I have ever heard about Africans is that they were heathenistic. I knew better than that, but until now I have never had a way to prove our spiritualism. I have rejected Colonialism and their religion, because all the Gods were blond haired, blue eyes and white. I have never accepted colonial description of us as sub-intelligent and heathenistic. This reoigion was forced on us and now if you believe differently, you are damned and going to hell. I would love to meet you and sit down with you and have you answer some of my fquestions. I have many. Could you give me your thoughtss on President Barack Obama? I have my opinion, but would love to hear yours.

    I thank the Supreme Creator for this opportunity.

  • Mlungisi

    mkhulu mutwa touched me with one paragraph of his high wisdom after hundreds of books over 12 yrs of school failed to instill in me any sense of pride in my peoples values and morals…being taught to believe our ways were inferior and evil…thanx for walking with a touch in the corridors of my soul …

  • ndumiso

    BAB’u Mtwa i just came to realise we stil have a living legend whom we’ve never had opportunities to embrace and thank in educaticating us young and lost nation about the powers of our ancestors. i now know there is no superpowers out there but naturall powers.MY GOD PROLONGED YOU TO SEE MANY MORE YEARS TO COME i truly believe this world we are living in it needs people like you that along with your experiences and knowldge,can share and instill and educate …long live baba

  • shepsu

    All my person can say is “Tuau Neter” (thank you the supreme continuoum of being) for Baba Mutwa in this life time. Your teachings will never dissappear Ntate. We will carry them through until the last generation before we gwan back to the unisome. The seeds you are planting are bearing fruits yet.

    Anetchrak to you our living Sheps (ancestor) Baba Mutwa!

  • Vusi Ngcobo

    Babu Credo do you think the white people came here to Africa by mistake or it was aimed by God. Why I am asking this it because these people change all our cultures and belives. Do you think the bible it a realy vision of God. If yes why there is no black persons name on it. Maiby we were no existing on that time of God?

  • Albert Mokopane

    its just soothing to be part of this group and finally to be able to read about Tata Mutwa. Its amazing. Growing up i always thought Credo Mutwa was one of those names they talk about in African folk tales. Now i know the truth!

  • Fanafikile

    I pledge to follow in you foot steps and to find out more about the true way of the african from the elderly and my mother who is a sangoma!

  • maite

    i am interested in books by credo, problem is i have no idea where to get them. i stay in pretoria

    • emma

      go to your local library they will be full of Credo books if not let me know and i will try and find some for you

  • André Lauand Ribeiro


    i searched for "song of the stars" all around, but the prices were too high. today, i´ve just finished to read "zulu shaman", one of the most beautiful books i´ve ever read. i see many people want to read it too and are finding the same difficult i found when i searched for his "song of the stars". as i know now, the title was modified for this 2003 edition and became "zulu shaman". correct me if i´m wrong. so, i searched for the book in the more accessible place for books on internet, http://www.abebooks.com. the problem is you have to pay it by credit card, but the price is good. i paid 4 or 5 dollars for mine.

    it´s a pity credo mutwa´s is passing through difficulties in south africa, i read it today in his website. read it, it´s important, i think.

  • emma

    what an inspiration u are to us all i haven't had opportunity to read all your books but i will make sure i do i am especially touched by the comments everyone has made and u too have touched my soul u are a gift from above my own people have suffered in the hands of the pakeha race (white man) they even tried to wipe our language off the face of the earth but they will never succeed they called us a heathen race, savages the lot but if u read about the stories and know as we the MAORI people do they are the heathens who came in and tried to steal all lands belonging to us they pollute our earth with sewage, they pollute water ways with poisons from their factories all for their long lived greed for money, power and control of a nation. We indigenous people are a strong race and will continue to be. U are right a tree is not just a tree it is a living thing and we must respect nurture and care for it always. Credo i believe u were sent here to inspire and to teach people the gift of life. Bless you always

  • Baba Mutwa, if there is anyone else like you at this point in time, let them continue your legacy. So many ‘shamans’ are just money mongers who create conflict and suffering among people and enslave the desparate ones. I wish I could get all your books to understand this human better.

  • Pumeza

    Tata Mutwa, ndicela ukwazi unayo na incwadi e translater amaphupha ngesi Zulu noma ngesi Xhosa? If unayo please ndicela contact details so that ndizo kwenza iorder

  • igor

    are you from spain?
    i’ll like to talk with you.
    write to me to a@technomurales.org


    would like to have one of your books Baba

  • baba ngicela ukubuza ukuthi ziyatholakala yini izichazi maphupho zakho,uma zikhona zitholakala kuziphi izitolo.4RM LWAZI PMB

  • Lindani Zikhali

    Hopnorable Credo.

    It has been my wish to find or to know a person like you. I am a very spiritual person and a true African. I have seen things as well which suport eveything you have said and which realy make me believe in the power given to African people. May you live long enough for the 10th generation after you to know you walked this soil.

    • Thanks your your wonderful comment Lindani.



  • Moketsi Mphuthi

    Im truly speecheless, i feel extemly honoured Baba to have been introduced to yor work.
    I found out about you from my former teacher back in 2007 while still in high school. All the way from Lesotho, i visited your Croll in Jabavu Soweto and all thanx to Lebo for the tour and for all his informative asnwers and info he gave to me while was there.

    I just finished reading Indaba My Children, i feel so connected to who i really am and all thanx to you Baba. Im planning a visit sometime in March which will be my birth month. i believe that offering my self with the opportunity to come see you especially on the the month that i was born in will be the best present i have ever given to my self.
    Thank you so much for your enlightening information Baba, i feel really HONOURED.


  • Nompumelelo

    i really beileve that this is true and i would like to read more of this information,it has tought me to believe that all things are possible and that i am a creation of God….Thank you very much!!

  • arthur

    Where can I get his books

  • Ntha

    I cannot wait to read the books. I too honor the divinity that resides within me and I try to have it guide me. It would be amazing to have Baba as my spiritual leader. It is so sad how black people are easily influenced by Western cultures and modern ways. Baba I would really like to meet you.