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A story of hope, determination and…song

A Zimbabwean singer, musician and storyteller, Anna Mudeka, is bringing the story of an iconic South African artist and civil rights activist, Miriam Makeba, to the Playhouse stage on 27 Jan. 


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During the performance, Anna tells the remarkable story of a woman who came to be known as Mama Afrika, charting her rise from the townships of South Africa to a global star who was forced into exile for her stand against apartheid and marginalised for championing Black rights. 

Told in four acts that define critical stages of her life, Mama Afrika chronicles the seismic personal and political events that came to shape the famous music and voice. With her intimate knowledge of singing in many languages, including Swahili, Xhosa, Sothu and Zulu, Anna’s solo performance navigates an epic story through well-known songs, including Mbube, Pata Pata and Soweto Blues. 

Anna Mudeka’s musical and theatrical biography of Mama Afrika’s life not only pays tribute to one of the most iconic women of the 20th century but is a deeply personal reflection of what an inspirational role model she continues to be for young African women determined to shape their destinies and identities. 

Speaking about the show, Anna Mudeka said: “Mama Afrika’s empowerment and pride in the African woman inspired many generations to follow their dreams and passion, including myself. Her spirit still lives on through the gift of song. It’s a real honour and privilege to celebrate Mama Afrika’s voice.” 

The show is part of Norwich Theatre’s artistic development programme, which develops and engages local talent to maximise Norfolk’s potential as a brilliant place to be an artist and create new work. 

As a part of the artistic development programme, Anna will be offering a free workshop for 11-16 year olds at Norwich Theatre Stage Two on 24 Jan. Participants will learn and sing Miriam Makeba songs: songs and stories of resilience, hope and determination. Inspired by the life of Miriam Makeba, participants can focus on their own ideas for stories/ poetry/ spoken word/ song lyrics about personal strength. 

For more information or to book either Mama Afrika or the creative workshop, click the links below or call the box office on 01603 630 000. 

Mama Afrika