The Great Farini would stride on to the stage and announce, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, and now for the highlight of the day, the ferocious Zulus.’
The impresario Farini introduced Em-Pee and his troupe to his kind of show business, and now they must earn their bread. In 1885 in a bustling New York City, they are the performers who know the true Zulu dances, while all around them fraudsters perform silly jigs.
Reports on the Anglo-Zulu War portrayed King Cetshwayo as infamous, and audiences in London and New York flock to see his kin. What the gawking spectators don’t know is that Em-Pee once carried nothing but his spear and shield, when he had to flee his king.
But amid the city’s squalid vaudeville acts appears a vision that leaves Em-Pee breathless: in a cage in Madison Square Park is Acol, a Dinka princess on display. For Em-Pee, it is love at first sight, though Acol is not free to love anyone back.