NOW SHOWING: Amai Zenzele, An Intimate Story About the African Woman

“You will meet only two men in your life: one will make your hands tremble, the other will make them steady.”

This is just one of the many quotes from Zenzele that stand out in a beautifully written tribute from a Zimbabwean mother to her daughter.

Amai Zenzele is a play that explores the life and meaning of the “African woman” from the perspective of two generations- the mother and daughter. The mother sprinkles wisdom into the life of Zenzele through her letters, defying the distance between them. In doing so, you realize that the women’s movement is in fact universal.

Olateju Adesida, a Nigerian actress and writer, fully encompasses Zenzele’s mother. She bares her soul, leaving the audience comforted by the wisdom that comes from a mother sharing intimate stories with her daughter.

The true beauty of Zenzele is the honesty that comes with sharing a story from an African’s perspective. Put together by FATE, Zenzele is a raw and realistic depiction of the “African Woman”. It is the first play born out of a budding relationship between MPAACT and Fehinty African Theatre Ensemble (FATE).

Written by J. Nozipo Maraire, the story of Zenzele takes the form of a letter from a mother, Amai Zenzele, to her daughter Zenzele. We are fortunate to witness Adesida pull from her experience as an “African woman” and mother. Yes, there are uncomfortable moments and tear jerking revelations that will leave you questioning your role in society. Yet, many of the themes explored are universal and relevant to all women. From love, freedom, and aging- these are the themes that linger days after you’ve witnessed Zenzele.

Zenzele runs every Sunday until the end of November at the Greenhouse Theater Center. It offers one of the few opportunities for Chicagoans to see an African play that addresses the concerns many Africans face in America. Purchase your ticket here or at the theater, and share some of the wisdom your mother shared with you.

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