The essay explains that the novel is mainly focused on the binary opposite of life because of among other things the ending and the depictions of the funerals. Performance is most obviously foregrounded in his fictional narratives in the form of social ceremonies or festivals — the various funeral rituals in Ways of Dying; the customary social gatherings of the Basotho people, with their traditional dances in She Plays with the Darkness; the Xhosa tradition of split-tone singing in The Heart of Redness; the Ficksburg Cherry Festival in The Madonna of Excelsior; the Kalfiefees in Hermanus when the Southern Right Whales arrive annually to give birth in The Whale Caller; and the Court Street Halloween parade that frames the narrative in Cion.
This book demonstrates the wide range of both Mda's work and its critical reception, with discussions of his fiction and drama by scholars from South Africa, Europe and the USA.
The wide critical range of the essays presented here reinforces the impression of Mda as an innovative and important writer whose use of creative skills draws attention to the plight of underprivileged people in South Africa and elsewhere. He explained his position to Benjamin Austen in an interview published in December I am free now.
The Heart of Redness was inspired in part by the place, Qolorha-by-Sea, and in part by an enthusiasm for the history associated with the legend of Nongqawuse Bell Works cited Austen, Benjamin. Meg Samuelson provides a feminist reading of The Heart of Redness that is both appreciative and corrective in Chapter These women, marginalised by a male-dominated and materialist discourse, while also the custodians of creativity and healing, are seen by the author as central to the rebuilding of a post-colonial and post- apartheid South Africa.
Dannenberg shows in Chapter 9 how The Heart of Redness dramatises culture as a complex and dynamic process, and she demonstrates how in the course of the narrative, interactive processes are played out, whereby cultures coming into contact with other hegemonic cultures undergo change and cultural hybridisation results.