Mtagati: (noun, verb, adj., taboo): pron: um’thakath’i meaning (variously):
black magic, magic, bad luck, luck, witch-doctor, witch)
This stage musical is set in a Zulu village at an undetermined time before colonial influence. An enormous and majestic Baobab tree dominates the stage sculpted in snakes and light – its branches swaying and swing to the music of the native band upstage and the orchestra below. The tree’s branches move to transport actors and the plot to new areas.The tree magically opens to reveal the Witchdoctor’s Den and a Sorcerer who drips magic from his/her fingers.
A wicked and power hungry chief – Ambyatu – has a long dead warrior come to him in a dream and show how to become Supreme Chieftain of the Zulu Nation. He enlists the Tribal Witchdoctor – Zandazi – who is said to have the knowledge and skills to raise the spirits of the dead – a necessary part of the treachery towards the beloved current Supreme Chiefton, Bababiti.
However, to raise the dead warrior’s spirit requires the dead warrior's young son to perform the ritual – an action that is taboo and can only bring danger and destruction to the tribe.
Ambyatu disguises himself so that no one knows his part in the plan, but during the ceremony the boy – Magama – recognizes him, tries to conceal it, but is found out.
Ambyatu is told during the ritual – by Magama’s father’s spirit - that all who know the secret of Ambyatu’s use of mtagati to raise the dead and take over the Nation must die – this not only includes Magama but also Ambyatu’s wives and his faithful bodyguard.
To save the boy Zandazi creates the illusion of Magama being mauled to death by wild hyenas and takes the child to safety in his Sorcerer’s Den to become his apprentice.
This is the beginning of a journey of magic, treachery, disloyalty, true love, past bad deeds, redemption and spiritual strength with a noble people. The story spans to Magama's maturity and his love for a girl Ambyatu has pledged to kill - to the culmination of demons, spirits and the walking dead evoked by Ambyatu's actions
These are some of the characters and settings of a colourful, energetic and often comic tale that brings the vibrance and joy of the great Zulu Nation to the theatre or concert stage.