Mugabe, My Dad and Me Review

York Theatre Royal- until September 18 2021

Reviewed by Katie Goldsbrough


Mugabe, My Dad and Me tells Tonderai Munyevu’s story. Tonderai, a gay man, from Zimbabwe, living in the UK has grown up knowing only one president, Robert Mugabe, one of the more controversial leaders of recent years. 

In 1980 Zimbabwe became its own country after gaining independence from Britain and Robert Mugabe became president. We learn of the rise and fall of Mugabe from the point of view of people who were there, their stories told by Tonderai.  He focuses on his and his father’s stories having spent many years living apart after he moved to the UK and his father remained in Zimbabwe. Tonderai tells us how this affected his family and potentially other families in Zimbabwe using Mugabes speeches to assist the narrative. 

Despite being a one man show Tonderai is not alone on stage for long, introducing us to Millie Chapanda early on, who plays live music throughout and teaches us more about how the Mbira (a musical instrument) is used in Zimbabwean culture. This is a fascinating story which gives an insight into life and the culture of Zimbabwe you wouldn’t get from someone who had not experienced it like Tonderai. 

He is excellent at switching from telling jokes and making the audience laugh to talking about something very serious and heart wrenching. The set is cleverly designed to embrace Zimbawean and British culture. In the 1hr 25 minutes you are in the theatre you will learn a great deal about Zimbabwe and their culture and the impact Mugabe had on so many people’s lives. This is an excellent, entertaining way to learn more about recent history and the impact it had on Tonderai and his family and how Britain played a part in what has become of Zimbabwe now.