Meet the Author: Makambe K Simamba
Meet the author of the powerful Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers—Makambe K Simamba!
Describe yourself in one sentence.
My name is Makambe and I’m a magical Zambian.
Tell us a little bit about your new book.
Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers is a solo show that follows the first moments of the afterlife of a seventeen-year-old Black boy in Florida.
This play arose from the place inside me that is:
- hip hop
- a craving to embody
- intense grief
- a curiosity about the boy who launched the Black Lives Matter movement, and what may have mattered to him
- the deep need to remind myself and others that headlines are people
- the even deeper need to hold space and ceremony
- an investigation into the existence of God
- the need to acknowledge the small moments that make a life
- ancestry, ghosts, names
- my skin, our skin
What’s something unique about you or something you like to do?
I keep a jar of sand on my writing desk. I am of Lozi heritage, and I recently had the privilege of travelling to the Barotse (Lozi) Kingdom to visit. I couldn’t help but bring back a little piece of the Kingdom with me.
There is an energy that radiates from this jar. Sometimes I stick my hand inside and touch the grains of light brown earth with my fingers before picking up my pen or starting to type on my keyboard. It makes me feel like my ancestors are sitting right beside me as I write. They always are anyways, but I love that the jar is a tangible reminder.
What is something that you enjoy doing, and why?
I have an innate ability to make up songs on the spot about anything, then accompany said songs with dance moves, whether in private or public. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
What are some of your favourite plays?
Ruined by Lynn Nottage, Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury, Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley, The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, The Crucible by Arthur Miller are all plays that mean a lot to me.
What are you reading these days?
I’m currently reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. Glennon doesn’t know this, but I’ve secretly adopted her into my heart as an Aunty. I find her words assuring and inspiring, and so, so funny.
What’s something that makes you laugh?
The hands-down funniest person I have ever met is my mama. She is the pinnacle of love, resilience, support, and wisdom—and the best part is, it all comes with an abundance of inside jokes, made up songs, general shenanigans, and ease. We belly laugh together, and I’m lucky to have her.
Learn more about Makambe:
Makambe K Simamba is a Dora Award–winning playwright and actor for Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers. Other plays include A Chitenge Story, The Drum Major Instinct Trilogy, Makambe Speaks, and MUD. Select acting credits include A Chitenge Story, inVISIBLE, GIANT, Bea, Winners and Losers, and SIA. She is the 2020/2021 Urjo Kareda Artist-in-Residence at Tarragon Theatre. She recently co-directed inVISIBLE (Too) at the University of Lethbridge and is a resident member of the artist-run theatre company ARC. Makambe is proudly Zambian, and her intention is to be of service to her community through her ability to tell stories. She is based between Calgary and Toronto.