Papatango Theatre Company

After Independence

May Sumbwanyambe

Directed by: George Turvey

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A world premiere from the multi-award-winning Papatango.

Guy and Kathleen grow their crops, raise their daughter, and pay their taxes. But Africa is changing, country by country. White farmers in Zimbabwe must now answer for history’s crimes. When Charles arrives with a smile and a purchase order, there’s more than just land at stake. With violence threatening to erupt, he will do whatever it takes to restore their farm to the ‘native’ population.

As truths are revealed and moralities questioned, are things ever more than simply black and white?

Inspired by real events in Zimbabwe, BBC Scriptroom winner May Sumbwanyambe‘s debut play is an unflinching examination of land ownership, dispossession and justice in a postcolonial world.

Starring Stefan Adegbola (The Christians, Gate Theatre), Sandra Duncan (King John, RSC), Peter Guinness (The Crucible, Manchester Royal Exchange) and Beatriz Romilly (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Globe).


Writer May Sumbwanyambe, 29, was born in Edinburgh a year after his parents emigrated to the U.K. from Zambia. Their family is split across Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. May’s grandfather was an elected Mayor in Zambia and an early advocate for the independence of all African nations. His father was in the government of the first post-independence President of Zambia.

Read a blog post from May Sumbwanyambe on writing After Independence


Special events

Wednesday 25 May, 10pm – live music event in Arcola Bar. With choral singing and drumming from members of the Zimbabwe Vigil, who will also be discussing their work championing human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe and challenging the Mugabe regime.