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The Heart of Redness

The Heart of Redness

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In the mid-nineteenth century, in the Eastern Cape village of Qolorha, a young girl called Nongqawuse brought a message from the ancestors to the amaXhosa people. It was that all their cattle should be slaughtered, and their fields not be cultivated. On an appointed day, the ancestors would return from the dead, bringing fresh herds of cattle, and the settlers would be driven into the sea. The prophecy split the nation into Believers and Unbelievers, dividing brother from brother, wife from husband, and the consequences were devastating. One hundred and fifty years later, the feud between the Believers and Unbelievers still simmers in Qolorha, as the villagers take opposing sides on every issue. When plans are mooted to build a vast casino and tourist resort in the village, they once again battle over their future, and face the loss of their heritage. Zakes Mda's complex new novel is a seamless weave of fascinating history, complex myth, and faithful depiction of people and place. M o ving between the worlds of contemporary characters and their nineteenth-century ancestors, The Heart of Redness is a triumph of imaginative and historical writing.


  • Zakes Mda is a well-known, award-winning South African author.
  • The novel deals with a fascinating and pivotal part of South African history that has never been the focus of a novel before.
  • Mda's style is both poignant and witty
  • Mda's writing is an important contribution to South African and world literature.