Thuthula - Heart of the Labyrinth

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Thuthula - Heart of the Labyrinth (1980*) is a play by Chris Zithulele Mann, published in the journal Shakespeare in Southern Africa, 2009.

Performance history in South Africa

First staged as a student production in Grahamstown in 1980, directed by Janet Buckland.

It was staged on the main stream at the Grahamstown Festival in 2003 as a large-scale production, again directed by Janet Buckland, with a professional cast of 27 Xhosa performers, including Samora Dlula, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Simpiwe Mapapu, Vuyisile Bojana and Mthuthuzeli Zeeland.


Inspired by the poem Thuthula by JJR Jolobe, well-known Xhosa writer of the 1920s, the play tells the tragic romantic true-life story, set in the early 19th century, of a beautiful young woman, Thuthula, with whom both the acting Xhosa monarch King Ndlambe and his nephew Prince Ngqika fell in love at the same time. When she married them both it divided the Xhosa nation, led to conflict between the two clans and resulted in the bloody Battle of Amalinde in 1818.

Translations and adaptations


[Van Heerden (2008)][1]. p 149.

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