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Zimbabwean-born singer, musician and storyteller, Anna Mudeka, is touring the UK until June 2024 with her show, Mama Afrika: Hope, Determination and Song, which tells the remarkable life story of the iconic South African singer, songwriter and Black civil rights activist, Dr Miriam Makeba.  

Below, Anna explains why she chose to tell Miriam’s story, her role in the South African Anti-Apartheid movement, and what audiences can expect from the show. 

Anna Mudeka as Miriam Makeba, photo credit Gideon Graylyons

Mama Afrika: why I’m bringing Miriam Makeba’s story to people nationwide 

When you are given the title ‘Mama Afrika’, you know you have made a significant contribution to the whole nation. The life of Dr Miriam Makeba must not be forgotten and we all need to be inspired by her work – to contribute, whatever our age.

Miriam’s journey embodies selflessness, perseverance, hope and unwavering  determination – even through struggle and heartache. Using words and song to fight against injustice, coupled with her remarkable talent, Miriam remains a beacon of inspiration. Yet her story is unknown to many. Surely she deserves a place in the history books, the world over. 

My decision to bring Miriam’s story to the stage was born out of my reverence for her. I admire her ability to navigate through adversity with grace. For me she epitomised the human spirit’s capacity for greatness. 

Through songs like Mbube, Miriam conveyed the harsh realities of oppression in South Africa, shining a spotlight on the atrocities unfolding under apartheid’s rule. It was through her voice that she brought the plight of her people to the global stage, galvanising support for the struggle. 

I admit that squeezing the intricacies of Makeba’s life into a single show posed a challenge. But with clever writing and a lot of research (all credit to the amazing writer Tomas Lutuli Brickhill) we have achieved it! It is a joy to bring the script to life, but we could have easily created another seven stories from her life. 

We are so pleased to have the support of The Makeba Foundation; it was important to have their blessing. Their support has been instrumental in bringing Makeba’s story to the stage. Their invaluable insights and guidance ensured that the portrayal of Makeba’s life remained true to who she was.  

Audiences can take so much from Miriam’s life story: in a world continuing to grapple with deep inequalities and injustices, Makeba’s story reminds us of the power of perseverance and solidarity to bring about change. 

We should also remember the words of Nelson Mandela: “We are not free until all peoples are free”.  

The show promises to deliver a captivating portrayal of Makeba’s legacy, imbued with authenticity, passion and love. 

To find out more and book tickets, visit:  

Aluta Continua – the struggle continues. 


Written by singer, musician and storyteller Anna Mudeka, February 2024. All images by Gideon Graylyons 

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