In front of a sold-out crowd at the New Wolsey Theatre, Mama Afrika was a poignant celebration of an anti-Apartheid activist.

Anna Mudeka plays Miriam Makeba, the anti-Apartheid activist and singer who came to be known as Mama Afrika.

This one-woman show manages to bring the audience on a journey through joy, sadness, grief, anger, and wit.

East Anglian Daily Times:

The performance tells the story of Ms Makeba’s journey to international stardom, leaving South Africa to pursue a music career.

While initially reluctant to talk about politics and civil rights, fearing for her family’s safety back in her home country, her mother’s death in the Sharpeville massacre sparks a political awakening.

Exiled from South Africa, Mama Afrika uses her platform to speak out for civil rights.

Punctuated with iconic songs like Soweto Blues and Pata Pata, the show captures the turmoil and tussle of anti-Apartheid campaigning.

East Anglian Daily Times: Anna Mudeka as Dr Miriam Makeba.

There is clever use of the ringing phone as a motif symbolising bad news, from divorce to death. This, however, is inverted at the end of the play, with a phone call to hear about the release of Nelson Mandela.

With moments of sass, as well as sadness, Ms Mudeka’s performance is brilliant.

At points, though, the script could have been trimmed to keep the strong momentum established at the beginning.

Nonetheless, marking 30 years since the end of Apartheid and with such a strong acting performance, Mama Afrika is well-worth a watch.

While the show was only in Ipswich for a day, those looking to enjoy the performance can still catch it in Great Yarmouth, Colchester, Kings Lynn, and Diss, as well as further afield.