Tambai Theatre Mama Afrika Tour 2024
The life of Dr Miriam Makeba
On tour, January – June 2024
Following the resounding success of the debut 2022 tour, Anna Mudeka returns to the stage as Mama Afrika sharing her interpretation of the life of Dr Miriam Makeba in a powerful one-woman, multi-faceted show over 16 performances across the U.K from January 2024.
Anna Mudeka, tells the remarkable life story of singer, songwriter and civil rights activist, Dr Miriam Makeba, charting her rise from the townships of Johannesburg to global star, forced into exile for her stand against apartheid and marginalised for championing Black rights. Told in four character incarnations chronicling a life blighted by hardship, tragedy and struggle, Mama Afrika features many of Makeba’s best loved songs including Mbube, Pata Pata and Soweto Blues, embodying her irrepressible spirit and integrity and which earned her the legendary status of Mama Afrika.
Mama Afrika features a 90 minute solo performance by Anna Mudeka and is produced for family audiences of all ages. Scripted by Zimbabwean writer Tomas Lutuli Brickhill, musical direction by John Vigar at Tontena Music, backing soundtrack recorded by Zimbabwean multi-instrumentalist Ziva Guveya and Directed by Tonia Daley Campbell.
Supported by Arts Council England, The Makeba Foundation, Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich Theatre, Arts La’Olam and Stuart Hobday
“What a marvellous performance from Anna last night! She gave us the essence of Miriam Makeba as an artist, activist and human being. Anna has a wonderful voice and also that compelling stage quality that engages the audience from start to finish” Cec Darker, Rosemary Branch Theatre
“... it was a sensational experience for me and utterly moving and luminous.”
Audience Member, Norwich Arts Centre
“Mama Afrika is a triumph! Theatre at its purest and most connected.”
Audience Member, Eastern Angles
RSC production of Kunene and The King
In 2020, Anna made her debut in London’s West End with the RSC’s acclaimed production of Kunene and the King, performing alongside Sir Anthony Sher and Sir John Kani at the Ambassador Theatre. Following his untimely death, Anna paid tribute to Sir Anthony, singing at his funeral at the resting ground of the great bard, Shakespeare, at Holy Trinity Church in December 2021.
Growing conscious theatrical practice has also been the motivation behind establishing Tambai Theatre, a further strand to her artistic output creating powerful, uncompromising work with a team of fellow creatives that places the voices of women, marginalised and minority groups at the heart of dramaturgy.
After more than twenty yers in the music business, in 2015 Anna took a sabbatical and spent 8 months researching her origins. In 2019 she toured her findings to over 45 dates throughout the UK with her one-woman production Kure Kure, Faraway, an epic tale addressing themes of identity, migration, assimilation and empowerment framed in the legends of her Shona ancestor Nehanda and her own highly personal story of settling in the UK.
Told through music, dance and the traditional songs of her forebears, she is a highly skilled Dancer, Ngoma drummer and Mbira player (a Zimbabwean traditional instrument used for ancestral and other celebrations) Anna is focused on keeping ancient stories, dances, instruments and techniques alive, particularly in a culture where such traditions are passed down aurally. Performances involved delivering wrap around workshops and talks to fully engage audiences and create shared experiences that aim to educate, build cultural bridges and inspire next generations.
This was an overwhelming and magnificent introduction to the beautiful music and dance of Zimbabwe, as well as cultural artifacts and historic tales in a solo show by the gifted and beautiful Anna Mudeka.