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uMabatha is a 1970 play written by South African playwright Welcome Msomi.[1] It is an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth into the tribal Zulu culture of the early 19th century, and details how Mabatha overthrows Dangane.

Described as Msomi's "most famous" work,[2] uMabatha was written when Msomi was a student at the University of Natal; it was first performed at the University's open-air theater in 1971. In 1972, it was performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Aldwych Theatre as part of that year's World Theatre Season,[3] and has subsequently been performed in Italy, Scotland, Zimbabwe, and throughout America,[4] including a "very successful off-Broadway season in 1978".[5]


Peter Ustinov said that, before seeing uMabatha, he did not truly understand Macbeth.[6]

Nelson Mandela said that "(t)he similarities between Shakespeare's Macbeth and our own Shaka become a glaring reminder that the world is, philosophically, a very small place."[4]


  1. ^ Brantlet, Ben (27 July 1997). "UMABATHA: THE ZULU MACBETH (When Birnam Wood Comes To South Africa, Look Out)". New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  2. ^ "Daphney Hlomuka: Much-loved actress". The Times. 5 October 2008. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Umabatha, West End (1972)". Broadway World International Database. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  4. ^ a b "'UMABATHA -- The Zulu Macbeth' Celebrates Origins of Zulu Nation With Drama, Music and Dance Oct. 2-5 at Wiltern". UCLA News. 19 August 1997. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  5. ^ "Shakespeare in South Africa: African Appropriations". Internet Shakespeare. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  6. ^ McNeil Jr., Donald G (6 July 1997). "A New Stage for South Africa". New York Times. Retrieved 10 October 2009.

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