U-Nongqause: Isiganeko so ku xelwa kwe nkomo 1857

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u-Nongqause: Isiganeko so ku xelwa kwe nkomo 1857 is a Xhosa play by Mary W. Waters (fl.1920-1950).

In English it is most often simply referred to Nongqause

The original text

A play written in isiXhosa based on the story of the tragic starvation of the Xhosa nation resulting from the slaughter of the cattle, in response to the visions of the young prophetess Nonqause. The play focusses on their redemption by the missionaries.

The text was published by Lovedale Press in 1924.

Translations and adaptations

An (English?) playscript called Nongqause: a drama of the cattle killing of 1857 is held by NELM in Grahamstown (Small Collections, Collection: WATERS, Mary: 2011. 289. 1.)

Waters wrote quite a few versions of the particular incident over the course of some four years, including also The Light – Ukukanya ("a drama of the history of the Bantus, 1600-1924", 1925) and a short story, The Story of the Native Doctor, 1926).

The play inspired H.I.E. Dhlomo to write his own English version of the story, called Nonqause: The Girl who Killed to Save (1935).

Performance history in South Africa

1933/1934: Produced as the second production by the Bantu Dramatic Society.


Nongqause: a drama of the cattle killing of 1857. Playscript held by NELM: Small Collections [Collection: WATERS, Mary]: 2011. 289. 1.

Mary W. Waters. 1924. Nongqause Cape Town: Maskew Miller, 1924.

Sheila Boniface Davies (compiler): 2010. Creative accounts of the Xhosa cattle-killing[1]

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