South African Journal of African Languages

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The poetry of Sigwavhulimu: On creation and death

Munzhedzi James Mafela


W.M.R. Sigwavhulimu is a leading poet in Tshivenḓa. His poetry is concerned with creation and appeals to supernatural beings, religious matters, death and pain. This article investigates the extent to which Christianity has influenced Sigwavhulimu in his poetry, with the focus on religious poetry dealing with creation and death. Sigwavhulimu reflects on the rich contribution that religious verse has made in conveying many aspects of Christian understanding. The poet sees God as the centre of true creation. He does not believe in the theory of evolution, but accepts an account of the creation of the world as reflected in the book of Genesis. He also differentiates between man’s creation and God’s creation. Sigwavhulimu depicts death as something frightening that is dreaded by people. Two types of death are identified: the death of an organism as a whole and the death of the soul. People are urged to fear death of the soul. According to the poet, medical practitioners and traditional healers cannot avert death. He urges people to search for a long-term solution that lies in the acceptance of God in order to avert death.

S.Afr.J.Afr.Lang.,2008, 2

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