The script began to unfold 16 years ago after a chance meeting between former president Thabo Mbeki and celebrated actor and director John Kani. Now theatre audiences are poised to watch the play with the longest development in the history of South African theatre. After several exchanges of notes between Mbeki and Kani, and drawing in the talent of legendary actor Robert Whitehead (of Isidingo fame) and gifted theatre director Lesedi Job, a brutal European king will be put on trial. Congo: The Trial of King Leopold II opens at the Market Theatre on October 12 and is bound to attract a wide range of audiences, among them politicians, academics, historians, experts on African politics and lovers of theatre. The play deals with the complexity, controversy and tragedy in the 19th and 20th centuries after a charming, cunning and greedy European king bizarrely laid claim to a country as his personal property. King Leopold 11 of Belgium reduced almost by half the population of what was th...

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