Vusi Benedict Macingwane Mchunu


Mchunu comes from Msinga, a grand area in Greytown. It runs through all the way to Dundee with towns like Kidsdrift, Tugela Ferry. And within it you get all the people. Zondi which is on Vusi's mother’s side, Ngubane, these are big nations. Mthembu, Mchunu, Mabazo, Majozi. These are big nations on that line. The Mchunus have a historic bone to chew with the Zulus. We are from the same progenitors Nkosinkulu, Ntombela, Qwabe . But Shakas spiritual father King Dingiswayo of the Mthethwa was out to vanquish all the clans. Shaka fulfilled this duty by destroying eNgonyameni, the Mchunu Palace of King Macingwane. We, like the Ngcobo at the time of King Dingane, were rooted out of Zululand into present day Greytown and Msknga-uThukela Valley. Till this day we do not know the remains of King Macingwane are. A sore point with amaChunu. Another fleeing section went as far as uMzimkhulu River and are called Macingwane, speaking isiBhaca and isiXhosa.

That is why in the Isandlwana Battle, the Mchunu King Phakade was part of the British army. He died there also.

Exile in Germany

Co Founder of Umzansi Arts Centre

On Vusi Mchunu’s return from 11 years exile in Berlin Germany in 1993, with German NGO funds, he co-founded the Umzansi Arts Centre (UAC) catering for arts, culture, heritage youth development in Clermont & KwaDabeka townships. Education and training activities in the UAC included visual arts classes with Ken Godfrey, an industrial design lecturer at the Durban Technikon, developing a music band with iconic musicians, Sipho Gumede and Busi Mhlongo, developing a Zulu dance ensemble , Ukhozi, trained by legendary instructor uMthantalala, and rehearsals for a musical with dance, drama and song, “Full Peace Dream - Uxolo kaNcane”, written by Vusi Mchunu, Saturday young girls and boys storytelling and dance with maskanda legend, Madala Kunene, and photography with ace Nigerian-cum-Berliner, Akinbode Akinbiyi.

Following the self-development teachings of Steve Biko, UAC, emphasised that we were first community members, before getting sophisticated through acquiring arts skills. UAC collaborated with local NGOs in Clean-Up campaigns, in free displays of their artistic capabilities, and hosted 2 highly successful Community Arts Festivals, with FNB as the principal sponsor. The festivals saw community art groups from Chatsworth with Bharata Natyam classical Indian dance, from Wentworth, Lamontville and KwaMashu. Calling back the pre-Apartheid community of Clermont/KwaDabeka, that had Coloured and Indian families in the mix. The highlight for UAC was a Transnet-sponsored residence and flight to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, UAC was a toast of the festival with their colourful musical and variety show, “Full Peace Dream- Uxolo kaNcane”, an allegory to address the raging IFP versus ANC war in KZN at the time.

UAC launched the Clermont & KwaDabeka Popular History Project, by firstly prioritising the elder community members as respondents in the series of audio-visual interviews. They were vanishing books and libraries. The 30 or so UAC students, participated in a hands-on fashion in the research, the recording, transcribing and translations. A sample of those covered in this phase include business people, community leaders, a first Postmaster, traditional healers and Zion church leaders and Christian church leaders. The Lutheran Evangelical Church in particular, as Clermont was created from parcels of freehold land sold by the Berlin Mission Station of Christianenburg, exclusively to African, Coloured and Indian community members, in 1932. On his next visit to Berlin, Germany, Vusi Mchunu went to the archives of the mother Berlin Mission Church, and discovered boxes with files on this Christianenburg Mission. He was allowed to make copies, and this greatly enriched the research process.

Closer to home, Vusi Mchunu’s grandfather, Methodist/Wesleyan Preacher Simon Moyimoyi Mchunu, came all the way from eKhonifili, eMtshezi to Clermont, to mobilise his homeboys and relatives from Maphumulo, Msinga, emaChunwini, Ladysmith and eKhonifili to buy available land sold by the Berlin Mission. They were to sell their cattle, and add their savings from working in Durban and Pietermaritzburg for this purpose. Simon Moyimoyi co-created the Isivivane Trading Company as the formal business entity to manage this development. Many plots were bought in Clermont/KwaDabeka. The original documents, title deeds are available here. Vusi and his siblings are in the process of formally registering a family trust to take over the work of the now defunct Isivivane Trading Company, and manage these plots of land.

Books by Macingwane

A student of Herbert Vilakazi. Download the presentations of Herbert Vilakazi here

Sausage Film Company