Touhill to host U.S. premiere of ‘Miriam Makeba: Mama Africa the Musical’

by | Aug 11, 2016

UMSL's Niyi Coker began working on the project last summer in Cape Town, South Africa.
Miriam Makeba: Mama Africa the Musical

(Photo courtesy of Niyi Coker)

A project that Niyi Coker began working on last summer as part of a fellowship in Cape Town, South Africa, has come to fruition – and is soon coming to the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Coker, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of African/African-American Theatre and Cinema at UMSL, is writer and director of “Miriam Makeba: Mama Africa the Musical,” which will be performed at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center Sept. 15. Featuring 40 South African actors, the production focuses on the life of a legendary African songstress who was banished from her country in the late 1950s.

Coker recently shared his excitement about the new musical’s upcoming U.S. premiere – and the story behind the project – with

“The fact that [Makeba] was a prominent national icon who contributed so much to their struggle for liberation and yet had no musical drama or major piece to commemorate her greatly stoked the fires of creativity within me,” Coker said.

To read more about the project, which is a collaboration of UMSL, the University of the Western Cape, ZM Makeba Trust and its wholly owned licensee Siyandisa Music, the home of Miriam Makeba’s intellectual property and archive, click here. For tickets and more information about the U.S. premiere on campus next month, see the event listing on the Touhill’s website.

UMSL Daily

UMSL Daily