Mama Afrika – Hope Determination Song

Friday 17th June

Anna Mudeka in association with Norwich Arts Centre, The Makeba Foundation and supported by Arts Council England, presents Mama Afrika


Hope, Determination and Song, a moving and spiritual account of the life of an iconic South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist. Celebrating what would have been her 90th year, 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, 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: Hope, Determination and Song 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 Mama Afrika’s exile in the United States. Shunned by the American establishment for aligning with the civil rights movement and marrying Black Panther Stokely Carmichael, we find her displaced in Guinea. Her renaissance follows as ‘Mama Afrika’; celebrated for championing the Pan African cause and welcomed back to South Africa in the 1990’s where together with the release of Nelson Mandela her music continues to heal the soul of her homeland.

Anna Mudeka’s 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 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. 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.

“Her 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.” Anna Mudeka

Mama Afrika: Hope, Determination and Song is conceived and performed by Anna Mudeka and scripted by Zimbabwean writer Tomas Lutuli Brickhill. Featuring a global production team including musical direction by John Vigar at Totena Music (UK), backing soundtrack recorded by multi-instrumentalist Ziva Guveya (Zimbabwe), direction by Tonia Daley-Campbell (Jamaica), lighting by Carmen Wright (Jamaica), voice coach Yusef Legwabe (South Africa), costume design Edith KaNgwenya (Zimbabwe).

Mama Afrika: Hope, Determination and Song has been made possible through funding from Arts Council England and is supported by The Makeba Foundation.