Piet Retief

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Piet Retief is a tragedy by an unnamed author.

The original text

The title given for a play about the massacre of the Voortrekker leader Piet Retief (1780-1838)[1] and his men by the impis of the Zulu king Dingane at Mgungundlovu in Natal on 6 February 1838.

No published play by this name can be traced, though a performance of a play by this name is mentioned in 1904.

The translator and journalist Gustav Preller (1875–1943) wrote a romanticised Afrikaans biography of Piet Retief (published in 1906), which was possibly the basis of a number of subsequent stage works on the basic incident. From a Zulu perspective, Credo Mutwa's publication Indaba, My Children is also an important source.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1904: A piece called Piet Retief (by an unnamed author) was performed by the Muziek-en Debatsvereeniging in the Gymnasiumzaal, Paarl, on 27 May, accompanied by two oral recitals, two solo songs and two choir pieces.



Jackie Grobler. 2011. The Retief Massacre of 6 february 1838 revisited, Historia (vol.56 n.2)[2]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.480

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