The Early Years

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An introduction to Prof Kunene and the Mazisi Kunene Museum through his two seminal works, Anthem of the Decades and Emperor Shaka the Great. These are accompanied by photographs of the poet, an image of his early years in protest against apartheid, while in London. Significantly, examples of the Men of Achievement edition of 1976, includes Prof Kunene as a notable addition, (Page 397) to what was primarily a listing of men of Caucasian descent and their achievements.  

Selected correspondence brings a personal touch to the narrative, where he writes to his wife and partner, Mathabo. Mrs Kunene, often thought of 'muse' to Kunene, spent much of her life in support of his creative energy. A creative entrepreneur herself, she had the vision and commitment to guard most of his works and papers to amass this substantial Collection, which now graces these walls.

Kunene, in an essay on Problems with African Literature, speaks of the early years where he commenced his writing practise as a young boy in Amahlongwa at the age of eight or nine where his father had given him a fold-up table to enable him to write wherever he was. He often had to tend to his chores as most other boys and girls in his village did, go to school and still find the time to write and later, recite to his father in the evenings. He was recognised early in his life as imbongi, a role which he took seriously and which later saw him coming back to Amahlongwa after a long absence in exile. On his return he ‘kept his promise’ to support development in his native village. The Kunene family has continued with this legacy and has developed the KwaHluzingqondo High School which he attended to one of a School of Excellence that includes a Computer laboratory and Library and a recently launched Science Centre.

Where to find us

8 Delville Ave, Glenwood,
Durban, South Africa

Phone: (031) 2052912
Email: senzo@kunenefoundation.org