The young cast, which includes Magnet Theatre and UCT drama graduates, and some of the young Cape Town Opera Members, have come together under the direction of Mark Fleishman to create a musical version of the Zakes Mda novel Heart of Redness.
Shortlisted for the prestigious Commonwealth Writers Prize, Heart of Redness tells a story of South African village life against the backdrop of a notorious episode from the country's past. Camugu, who left for America during apartheid, has returned to Johannesburg. Disillusioned by the problems of the new democracy, he travels to the remote Eastern Cape where, in the nineteenth century, a teenage prophetess named Nonqawuse commanded the Xhosa people to kill their cattle and burn their crops, promising that once they did so the spirits of their ancestors would rise and drive the occupying English into the ocean. The failed prophecy split the Xhosa into Believers and Unbelievers, dividing brother from brother, wife from husband, with devastating consequences. One hundred and fifty years later, the two groups' descendants are at odds over plans to build a vast casino and tourist resort in the village, and Camugu is soon drawn into their heritage and their future.