“I was a veteran fighter. That’s how I saw myself. But at the end of the day, Pumla, all that I really am is a veteran of lost ideologies. Once you realise that, you lose your innocence.“

A Human Being Died That Night is Nicholas Wright’s new play, based on the moving and shocking award-winning book by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, a South African psychologist who served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at the time of apartheid.

The play is the account of Pumla’s interviews with state-sanctioned mass murderer Eugene de Kock, and mixed in are stories of victims and criminals on both sides of the racial barrier that she met during her time as a member of the Commission and the Human Rights Violations Committee.

Pumla develops growing empathy for those pushed by a cruel system into losing their morality and becoming killers and attempts to understand what causes someone to commit crimes of humanity.

Coming to the Hampstead Downstairs Theatre, the production stars Noma Dumezweni as Pumla and Matthew Marsh as Eugene de Kock.

  • A Human Being Died That Night is at Hampstead Downstairs, Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage from Friday, May 10 to Saturday, June 15 at 7.45pm, with 3.15pm Saturday matinees. Details: 020 7722 9301, www.hampsteadtheatre.com