One woman musical to tell the story of Mama Afrika

Anna Mudeka, Zimbabwean singer, musician and storyteller 

Anna Mudeka, Zimbabwean singer, musician and storyteller - Credit: Gideon Graylyons

A Zimbabwean singer, musician and storyteller will bring the story of an iconic South African artist and civil rights activist to the stage. 

Anna Mudeka’s musical, called Mama Afrika: Hope, Determination and Song, will be performed in the Eastern Angles Theatre in Ipswich on June 25. 

During the performance, the artist 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. 

Anna, 46, said: “Mama Afrika's empowerment and pride in the African woman inspired many generations to follow their dreams and passion, including myself.  

Anna Mudeka, Zimbabwean singer, musician and storyteller 

Anna Mudeka, Zimbabwean singer, musician and storyteller - Credit: Gideon Graylyons

“Her spirit still lives on through the gift of song. It’s a real honour and privilege to celebrate Mama Afrika’s voice.” 

Anna’s solo musical navigates an epic story that is told through well-known songs performed in many languages, including Swahili, Xhosa, Sotho and Zulu. 

The musical and theatrical biography of Mama Afrika’s life not only pays tribute to one of the most iconic women in the twentieth century, but also is a deeply personal reflection of what an inspirational role model she continues to be for young African women who are determined to shape their own destinies and identities. 

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The theatre’s spokesman said: “Produced for family audiences, this story is one that deserves to be shared with younger generations and Mama Afrika: Hope, Determination and Song achieves this - staying true to the ancestral traditions from which her extraordinarily rich repertoire was born.” 

Anna Mudeka, Zimbabwean singer, musician and storyteller 

Anna Mudeka, Zimbabwean singer, musician and storyteller - Credit: Gideon Graylyons

The Mama Africa performance introduces the local audience to African music and follows the story of Miriam Makeba, who would be 90 years old this year.

Anna Mudeka is a multi-instrumentalist, actress, singer, writer and educator, who proudly shares the ancestral heritage of her native Zimbabwe culture through performance and workshops, inviting audiences of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to immerse themselves in sounds, spiritualism and fables of Africa. 

The musical was organised in association with the Norwich Arts Centre, The Makeba Foundation and the Arts Council England and features a global production team.