Death and the King's Horseman

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Death and the King's Horseman is a play by Wole Soyinka (born in Nigeria in 1934). The play is based on events which took place in Oyo, ancient Yoruba City of Nigeria, in 1946. The lives of Olon Elesin, his son, and the Colonial District Officer intertwined with disastrous results. The play is set between sunset and the small hours of the next morning.

First performed in Ife, Nigeria, 1976.

The original text

Published in Plays 1 by Wole Soyinka, Methuen Drama, 1998.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1992: Presented in South Africa during the 1992 Grahamstown Festival by PACT Drama with Francois Swart as director, Peter Se-Puma assistant director, Lindy Roberts designer, lighting designer Jane Gosnell, choreographer Nomsa Manaka, musical adviser Georg Lee Larnyoh. The stage manager was Johan Pretorius, assisted by Sally Smith. The cast included Peter Se-Puma, Owen L. Sejake, Nomhle Nkonyeni, Nomsa Nene, Felicia Mahanbehlala, Zoleka Duma, Thabang Nkonyeni, Ratilwe Rampeng, Michael McCabe, Jacqui Singer, Patrick Ndlovu, Samson Khumalo, Pearl Angel Pomuser, Dale Cutts, Bruce Laing, Darill Rosin, Gareth Ramsey, Ter Holmann, Christopher North, Nkosinathi Ngubane, Aaron Mbuli, Mike Mvelase.

A season at the Alexander Theatre followed from 21 July to 8 August 1992 with director Francois Swart with Nomhle Nkonyeni, Patrick Ndlovu and Owen Sergeant Amusa.


Sunday Times, 28 July 1992.

1992 Grahamstown Souvenir Programme, p 47.

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