Originally workshopped by Brett Bailey and cast in 1996 with the original title Zombie, then revisited and staged as Ipi Zombi? (1998). Published in David Graver (Ed) Drama for a New South Africa (Indiana University Press, 1999) under this title, as well as in the trilogy of plays, The Plays of Miracle & Wonder: Ipi Zombi? / iMumbo Jumbo / The Prophet (Juta and Company Ltd, 2003)
In 1995 twelve black schoolboys were killed in a minibus crash just outside a small South African township. Fifty local women were held accountable for the deaths of the boys, and a witch hunt was launched. People believed the boys had been killed to serve as zombie slaves for the witches. Several women were executed. Diviners tried in vain to resurrect the dead boys. Based on these real life events, the story was improvised and developed by 15 performers from the Kokstad/Bhongweni community of the Eastern Cape, on a set reminiscent of a giant voodoo shrine.
Performance history in South Africa
1996: Written, designed and directed by Brett Bailey, with Abey Xakwe, Silulami Lwana, Noxolo Donyeli, Andile Bonde and Xola Mda, premièred at the Grahamstown Festival 1996 as Zombie, presented by Third World Bunfight and directed by Brett Bailey.
1998: First staged as Ipi Zombi? at the Artscape Theatre in 1998, also on the main programme of the Grahamstown Festival, a tour of rural Eastern Cape Province, the Hilton Festival in KwaZulu-Natal, and the Spier Arts Festival in the Cape.
1999: In 1999 it appeared at the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Bulawayo. Staged in both English and vernacular versions.
Translations and adaptations
See: [Van Heerden (2008)]. pp 144-147.
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