Dreaming Zenzile

Institute History

  • 2019 Theatre Lab


Dreaming Zenzile is a play with music based on the extraordinary life of late South African singer and political activist Miriam Makeba. Dreaming Zenzile is set in Castel Volturno, Italy on the night of Makeba’s final performance and her death. Throughout the play, Makeba moves between the memory and evocation of real and dreamed experiences about her life journey while weaving through a musical landscape of modern jazz and South African musical traditions. ‘Zenzile’ is Makeba’s true first name. In her mother tongue Xhosa, it means "you have done it to yourself." In short, Dreaming Zenzile is an exposition of the burdens and freedoms that accompany the gift of song and a meditation on the lasting power of the disembodied voice.

Dreaming Zenzile is made with the permission and courtesy of Miriam Makeba Foundation, Miriam Makeba Estate, and Mama Africa Cultural & Social Trust.


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