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Meshack Mavuso-Magabane rewrites the history of King Shaka Zulu in new musical

Thembinkosi Chagwe as Shaka Zulu. Picture: Itumeleng Khumisi

Thembinkosi Chagwe as Shaka Zulu. Picture: Itumeleng Khumisi

Published Oct 22, 2021

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Musical dance spectacular, “Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound” celebrates the life and legacy of the iconic leader of the Zulu Kingdom, King Shaka ka Senzangakhona.

Written by renowned playwright Bongani Linda, “Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound” is directed by award-winning actor and theatre maker Meshack Mavuso-Magabane.

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The show stars Thembinkosi Chagwe (as Shaka Zulu), Nkanyiso Bhengu (Dingane), Mduduzi Mabaso (Shongweni).

“Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound,” tells the story of the world-renowned warrior king, uShaka ka Senzangakhona who was a visionary, a patriot, a prophet, a diplomat, a military strategist, a nationalist, and a nation-builder who wanted to establish one strong and inclusive nation in Southern Africa.

The story is told through the eyes of a praise singer, taking audiences on a journey of historical imagination to the glorious past and leading them back through the exhilarating songs, praise poetry and energetic Zulu dancing to a proudly and unapologetically Pan-African future that the ancestors envisaged.

Commenting on the show, Mavuso-Magabane said: “For nearly 200 years, historians and storytellers who are disciples of Western and Eurocentric history have portrayed the Zulu King as a bloodthirsty tyrant who was obsessed with war and power.

“However, decolonised and diversified Afrocentric historical accounts have demonstrated that this is not true, as King Shaka and his legacy constitute an important foundation and one of the key pillars of the African people’s vision for unity, freedom and national pride.”

Mavuso-Magabane further explained that King Shaka Zulu was considered “an eminent shepherd of unity who was determined to establish one mighty African nation“.

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“But before he could realise his vision, he was assassinated in a regicide spearheaded by his brothers Dingane and Mhlangana, assisted by the warrior king’s trusted servant Mbopha ka Sithayi,” he said.

Upon his death in September 1828, he is believed to have cursed his assassins by warning them that their rule shall be characterised by bloodshed and mayhem.

According to Mavuso-Magabane, many still believe that his curse in the face of betrayal by those he trusted most, continues to haunt the country to this day.

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“Shaka Zulu is an emotional plea by present generations to the spirit of Shaka to forgive us and bring an end to the bloodshed that has engulfed our daily lives despite the attainment of political emancipation.

“It is clear then that as a nation we need to seriously deliberate about the painful reality of our complicated past before we could confidently map the way forward into a brighter, peaceful and prosperous future,” added Mavuso-Magabane.

The thrilling musical features a 40-strong star-studded cast, accompanied by an eight-piece band.

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Tickets to “Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound” are available at Webtickets for R130.

The show is currently showing at The South African State Theatre until November 14.

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