Black Lover – The story of Sir Garfield Todd

The latest show from Auckland Theatre Company will transport the audience back 86 years, to the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

Sir Garfield Todd, a New Zealand-born politician had high hopes of reforming what we now know as Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. The country had been overrun with racist propaganda and there was a need for change in Todd’s eyes.

Originally heading to Africa on a mission to build clinics and schools, Todd came to realise how he could make change happen. In 1946 he was elected to Parliament and moved up to Prime Minister after the elections in 1953.

It was around this time Todd said, “We must make it possible for every individual to lead the good life, to win a place in the sun. We are in danger of becoming a race of fear-ridden neurotics – we who live in the finest country on Earth.”

Todd’s main achievements were helping the Federation become independent from Great Britain, and his push to grant suffrage to educated blacks. This backfired leaving him without a second-term.

Things began to change at this point. Todd joined a black nationalist group that spoke about their injustices and the bigotry portrayed by Prime Minister Ian Smith. This association with the group lead to Todd being placed under house arrest numerous times by the racially imbalanced government of the time. This happened all while a civil war played out on the other side of his door.

Fast forward to 1980 and Mugabe was appointed Prime Minister and with this came senator Garfield Todd. While this looked good at the beginning, it still turned for the worst and Todd has since spoken of the corruption within this administration. Leaving his post five years later, being knighted in 1986, losing his Zimbabwean citizenship in 2002, it’s safe to say Todd’s life was anything but boring.

The road was long and it was rough, and that’s what the show Black Lover is bringing to the Auckland Arts Festival. Written by Zimbabwean Stanley Makuwe, the show is set to evoke some tough emotions, and show the strength there is in numbers when you fight back against the status quo.

Dates: March 6 – April 4, 2020

Venue: Loft, Q Theatre, Auckland

Run time: 75 minutes

Tickets: Start from $25 here

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