The Flower of Shembe

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The Flower of Shembe is a contemporary dance/operetta by Neo Muyanga.

The original text

The Flower of Shembe is an operetta about faith and destiny, based on the story of myths surrounding Isaiah Shembe, but it is reimagined so that the Messiah-like character is a girl pretending to be a boy so as not to stress her militaristic father.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

2012: Presented by Cape Town Opera (2-5 May) and in Johannesburg at the Dance Factory in July, directed and choreographed by Ina Wichterich-Mogane, designed by Craig Leo, with Chumo Sopotela, Luvuyo Mabutho, Kabi Thulo, Theresa Sakko, Sean Oelf and Thabisa Dinga.


Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

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