The Artscape Theatre Centre, Cape Town, South Africa, came alive on Thursday, February 2, as Miriam Makeba: Mama Africa The Musical returned home for the second time base on popular demand. The show, which will run till January 12, is courtesy of the United Kingdom office of the Lagos-based ZMirage Multimedia Company led by the ace theatre technician and producer, Teju Wasee Kareem.
The production, which premiered in Cape Town mid last year, is returning for the second time, after its intensive tour of Missouri and New York in October last year. The story of the life and career of the Grammy award winning singer and civil rights activist, Miriam Makeba, is delightfully told in the musical, written/directed by Niyi Coker Jnr, winner of Washington DC Kennedy Centre Award for directing. Coker is the E. Desmond Lee Distinguished Professor of African/African-American Studies, Theatre & Cinema Arts at the University of Missouri, Saint Louis.
The cross-continental cultural project, Mama Africa The Musical, started three years ago as a collaboration between the University of Missouri, St. Louis USA, and the University of Cape Town, South Africa with the collaboration of the ZM Makeba Trust. But Professor Coker did an extensive research into the life and career of Miriam Makeba; especially her role in the struggle against apartheid. Makeba’s life story illustrates the resilience of the African spirit, master artistry and positive, forward-looking spirit.
The maiden show of the 40-man cast with an international crew was at The Great Hall, University of Western Cape, South Africa (May 25-29, 2016). It later proceeded on tour of the USA at The Anhuesser Busch Theatre in the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Centre, University of Missouri Campus, St. Louis (September 15—18,, 2016); and Skirball Performing Art Center, New York City on October 3, 2016.
After these successful runs, Mama Africa has been repackaged for wider public showing starting with its scheduled run at the influential theatrical performance space, ArtsCape in Cape Town. It is also billed to tour the United Kingdom in March, and Nigeria in May 2017.