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. Imbongi, poet, writer, father, academic, creative genius, Kunene sought to draw worldwide 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 languages where his work was read and translated, emphasizing the deep respect and prominence given to Kunene’s work worldwide.
To imagine a young boy from Amahlongwa, growing up during a time of separation and prohibition on the south coast, far from the city and far from the world… who could then transcend restriction and allow his imagination to give birth to profound ideas, poetry and prose; essays about whom we are as Africans; epic writings and short stories, thus amassing in his lifetime, a collection of more than 10 000 literary works. These works, he wrote almost entirely in iSiZulu and would prefer to translate these into English himself. His works have been translated into many languages such as Japanese, German, Latin, French, Chinese and Spanish amongst others.
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The Mazisi Kunene Archives incorporates the vast collection of written manuscripts in long hand and typed versions. These manuscripts make up a total of more than 10 000 pieces which Prof Kunene had amassed during his lifetime. A most substantial body of work which is comparable to any literary giant world-wide. Some of these works have been published, but a vast majority still remain unpublished. It had been Prof Kunene’s dream to see the works originally published in his beloved iSiZulu as he believed that ‘his’ people should be acquainted and identified with their own language first.