In The Heart of Redness Zakes Mda sets a story of South African village life against a notorious episode from the country's past. The result is a novel of great scope and deep human feeling, of passion and reconciliation. As the novel opens, Camagu, who had left for America during apartheid, has returned to Johannesburg. Disillusioned by the problems of the new democracy, he follows his famous lust to Qolorha on the remote Eastern Cape. There in the nineteenth century a teenage prophetess named Nongqawuse commanded the Xhosa people to kill their cattle and burn their crops, promising that once they did so the spirits of their ancestors would rise and drive the occupying English into the ocean. The failed prophecy split the Xhosa into Believers and Unbelievers, dividing brother from brother, wife from husband, with devastating consequences. One hundred fifty years later, the two groups' descendants are at odds over plans to build a vast casino and tourist resort in the village, and Camagu is soon drawn into their heritage and their future - and into a bizarre love triangle as well.