Mama Afrika comes to Edinburgh

A one-woman theatre show celebrating the life and music of Miriam Makeba, marking 30 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa, is coming to Edinburgh.
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Anna Mudeka in association with Norwich Theatre, The Miriam Makeba Foundation and supported by Arts Council England, is proud to present Mama Afrika at The Assembly Theatre, Edinburgh, on Thursday, March 14.

The show is a moving and spiritual account of the life of an iconic South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist, Miriam Makeba.

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Zimbabwean-born singer, musician and storyteller Anna Mudeka tells the remarkable story of the woman who came to be known as Mama Afrika, charting her rise from the townships of South Africa to global star, who was forced into exile and marginalised for her stand against apartheid and for championing Black rights.

Mama Afrika, Anna Mudeka's one woman theatre show celebrating Miriam Makeba.Mama Afrika, Anna Mudeka's one woman theatre show celebrating Miriam Makeba.
Mama Afrika, Anna Mudeka's one woman theatre show celebrating Miriam Makeba.

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 Mudeka’s solo performance navigates an epic story through well known songs, including Mbube, Pata Pata and Soweto Blues.

From a rising star exploding onto the international stage, introducing western audiences to African music, we follow the story after the Sharpeville massacre sparks a political awakening and uncompromising stance against apartheid leading to Miriam Makeba’s exile in the United States.

Shunned by the American establishment for aligning with the civil rights movement and marrying Black Panther Party member Stokely Carmichael, we find her displaced in Guinea. Her renaissance follows as ‘Mama Afrika’; she was celebrated for championing the Pan African cause and welcomed back to South Africa in the 1990s where together with the release of Nelson Mandela her music continues to heal the soul of her homeland.

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Anna Mudeka’s musical and theatrical biography of Miriam Makeba’s life not only pays tribute to one of the most iconic women in 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 own destinies and identities.

Celebrating the hope, determination and song of Miriam Makeba.Celebrating the hope, determination and song of Miriam Makeba.
Celebrating the hope, determination and song of Miriam Makeba.

Produced for family audiences, this story is one that deserves to be shared with younger generations and Mama Afrika achieves this - staying true to the ancestral traditions from which her extraordinarily rich repertoire was born.

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

Mama Afrika is conceived and performed by Anna Mudeka and scripted by Zimbabwean writer Tomas Lutuli Brickhill. Featuring a global production team including musical direction and special sound effects by John Vigar at Tontena Music, song backing tracks recorded by multi-instrumentalist Ziva Guveya, direction by Tonia Daley-Campbell, lighting design by Carmen Wright, voice coach Yusef Legwabe, and costume design Edith KaNgwenya. The show is produced by Arts La’Olam.

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Funded by The Arts Council of England and supported by The Miriam Makeba Foundation and Norwich Theatre. Mama Afrika is on for one night only at Assembly Roxy. Visit