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“The Rise of Maqoma” by Nandi Jola (a staged reading)

Maqoma, the Chief of the Xhosa forces during the Frontier Wars died on Robben Island. But how did his ceremonial stick end up in Ireland?

June 26, 2024
Brian Friel Theatre, 20 University Square, Queen's University Belfast
16:00 - 17:30

After studying the Frontier Wars and Europe’s invasion of South Africa in the 18th century, the establishment of the Cape Colony and the bravery of the Xhosa Warriors, Nandi Jola visited Robben Island in 2023 which has been for centuries the Island where people who were deemed dangerous have always been kept away from society.

First, the island was occupied by people who had the leprosy, where Irish nuns tended to them through their commitment and duty of religion. Later, the Island experienced the invasion of the British, where prisoners of war were sent. In the 1800s, during the building of the British Empire, native Africans known as the Xhosa Warriors were sent in exile to Robben Island. It was this island where Jongumsobomvu Maqoma the Chief and Commander of the Xhosa forces during the Frontier Wars, lost his life while imprisoned. This act would change South Africa’s history forever.   

This Play is an innovative storytelling and oral history body of work influenced by the discovery of Chief Maqoma’s stick in the National Museum of Ireland,  the stick came to Ireland in 1873 and donated to the Museum in 1880. The language of colonisation and migration comes to life through challenging whitewashed history and most especially opening the conversation on repatriations. 

This staged reading is a Queen’s University Drama Research Seminar and will be followed by a Q&A.

Admission Free, but please book using Eventbrite 

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