Music

Miriam Makeba

Born 4 March 1932. Died 10 November 2008.
Miriam Makeba

Biography

Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 – 9 November 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a Grammy Award-winning South African singer and civil rights activist.

In the 1960s, she was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music around the world. She is best known for the song "Pata Pata", first recorded in 1957 and released in the U.S. in 1967. She recorded and toured with many popular artists, such as Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, and her former husband Hugh Masekela.

Makeba campaigned against the South African system of apartheid. The South African government responded by revoking her passport in 1960 and her citizenship and right of return in 1963. As the apartheid system crumbled she returned home for the first time in 1990.

Makeba died of a heart attack on 9 November 2008 after performing in a concert in Italy organised to support writer Roberto Saviano in his stand against the Camorra, a mafia-like organisation local to the region of Campania.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Mama Afrika 1932-2008

    Mama Afrika 1932-2008 2009

    Reviewed by Colin Irwin
    Majestic recordings by a genuine world music pioneer.
  2. Review of The Best Of The Early Years

    The Best Of The Early Years 2003

    Reviewed by John Armstrong
    Diverse compilation of Miriam's back pages. A welcome palate-cleanser.
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