The Kunene Museum was founded in 2007 by the Mazisi Kunene Foundation. The Kunene Museum, which was Prof Kunene’s home when living in South Africa, was donated by the Kunene Family and is endorsed by the Department of Arts and Culture, Museum Services. Set in a pan-handle in Glenwood, Durban, the Museum is close to most amenities and public forms of transport. Situated close to a number of schools in and around Glenwood, who visit from time to time, the Museum however receives visitors from rural and townships schools who journey there from quite a distance.
Based on an extensive Collection of more than 10 000 manuscripts that includes such epic writings as Anthem of the Decades - Inhlokomo Yeminyaka and Emperor Shaka the Great - UNodumehlezi KaMenzi. The manuscript Collection also boasts poems, short stories, essays and nursery rhymes all written by Professor Mazisi Kunene in his native language, iSiZulu. Imbongi, poet, writer, father, academic and creative genius, Kunene sought to draw world-wide attention to iSiZulu culture, language and in particular, African cosmology and African-ness.
The Kunene Museum includes selected displays of his poems exhibited mostly in iSiZulu and English, with a few examples of other languages where his work was read and translated, emphasizing the deep respect and prominence given to Kunene’s work world-wide. Titles found entering each of the rooms hint at narratives within the life of Prof Kunene and his work. These exhibits are by no means an iteration of his entire oeuvre, but a substantial glimpse, nevertheless.
Currently, these pieces are kept in a space at the Museum which still requires an archive that is protected against the elements which could see this extensive body of work under threat. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with the University of KwaZulu Natal to digitize this fragile work.
The Kunene Museum includes antique furniture and special objet d’art collected by Kunene and his family over the years. In addition, selected artworks add value where for instance, drawings in ink on handmade paper were commissioned by Kunene from the artist, Dumile Feni, forms part of a display of an Elegy to Fei Ling written by Kunene.
A narrative is woven throughout the Museum by the curator and/or guides who are happy to give you a tour should you visit the Museum between 8am and 4pm on most days.