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The Heart of Redness Study Notes - Elex Academic Bookstore

The Heart of Redness Study Notes

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Zakes Mda's novel, The Heart of Redness, is based on a catastrophic event in the 1850s, when the sixteen-year-old Nongqawuse instructed the Xhosa nation to kill their cattle and destroy their crops to ensure an abundant future. The novel is a unique exploration of history, a celebration of love and nature, and a profound comment on our future. In 2001, it won the Sunday Times Fiction Award, and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Africa. 

These Study Notes have been written to help students and teachers explore and extend their understanding of Mda's great work. They are an invaluable guide to preparing for examinations



  • an introduction that summarises the historical background
  • discusses the novel's relevance today
  • introduces the main themes and characterisation
  • explains the "magic realist" style
  • as well as chapter-by-chapter questions and activities, focusing on understanding the vocabulary
  • getting to grips with the characters
  • clarifying the story, with its flashbacks and flashforwards
  • understanding and analysing the novel's deepest themes.