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Miriam Makeba

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Miriam Makeba
Miriam makeba 01.jpg
Makeba during a performance
Background information
Birth name Zenzile Miriam Makeba[1]
Also known as Mama Africa
Born (1932-03-04)4 March 1932
Prospect Township, Johannesburg, Union of South Africa
Died 9 November 2008(2008-11-09) (aged 76)
Castel Volturno, Italy
Genres Marabi, world music, Afropop, jazz, Township
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, actress
Years active c. 1953–2008
Labels Manteca, RCA, Mercury Records, Kapp Records, Collectables, Suave Music, Warner Bros. Records, PolyGram Records, Drg, Stern's Africa, Kaz, Sonodisc
Website Official website

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 – 9 November 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, actor, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was known for her advocacy against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa.

Born in Johannesburg to Swazi and Xhosa parentage, Makeba was forced to find employment as a child after the death of her father. She had a brief and allegedly abusive first marriage at the age of 17, gave birth to her only child in 1950, and survived breast cancer. Her talent for singing had been recognised when she was a child, and she began singing professionally in the 1950s, with the Cuban Brothers, the Manhattan Brothers, and the all-woman group The Skylarks, performing a mixture of jazz, traditional African melodies, and popular music from the West. In 1959, Makeba had a brief role in the anti-apartheid film Come Back, Africa, which brought her international attention, and led to her travelling to perform in Venice, London, and New York. In London, she met Harry Belafonte, who became a mentor and colleague. She moved to New York City, where she became immediately popular, and recorded her first solo album in 1960. Her attempt to return to South Africa that year for her mother's funeral was prevented by the country's government.

Makeba's career flourished in the US, and she released several albums and songs, her most popular being "Pata Pata" (1967). Along with Belafonte she received a Grammy Award for her 1966 album An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba. She testified against the South African government in front of the United Nations and became involved in the African-American civil rights movement. She married Stokely Carmichael, a leader of the Black Panther Party, in 1968: as a result, she lost support among white Americans and faced hostility from the US government, leading her and Carmichael to move to Guinea. She continued to perform, mostly in African countries, including at several celebrations of independence. She also began to write and perform music more explicitly critical of apartheid; the 1977 song "Soweto Blues", written by her former husband Hugh Masekela, was about the Soweto Uprising. After apartheid was dismantled in 1990, Makeba returned to South Africa. She appeared in the 1992 film Sarafina!, was named a UN goodwill ambassador in 1999, and campaigned for several humanitarian causes. She continued recording and performing, including a 1991 collaboration with Nina Simone and Dizzy Gillespie, before dying of a heart attack during a 2008 concert in Italy.

Makeba was among the first African musicians to receive worldwide recognition. She is credited with bringing African music to a Western audience, and with popularising the world music and Afropop genres. She also made popular several songs critical of apartheid, and became a symbol of opposition to this system, particularly after her right to return was revoked. Upon her death, former South African President Nelson Mandela said that "her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us."

Early years

Childhood and family

Zenzile Miriam Makeba was born on 4 March 1932 in the township of Prospect in Johannesburg. Her mother Christina Makeba was a Swazi traditional healer, a sangoma, who also worked as a domestic worker. Her father, Caswell Makeba, who died when she was six years old, was a Xhosa teacher.[2][3][4] Makeba later said that before she was conceived, her mother had been warned that any future pregnancy could be fatal. Neither Miriam nor her mother seemed likely to survive after a difficult labour. Miriam's grandmother, who was attending the birth, often muttered "uzenzile", which is a Xhosa expression that means "you brought this on yourself", to Miriam's mother during her recovery, which inspired her to give her daughter the name "Zenzile", derived from that expression.[5]

When Makeba was eighteen days old, her mother was arrested and sentenced to a six-month prison term for selling umqombothi, an African homemade beer brewed from malt and cornmeal. Miriam therefore spent her first six months of life in jail.[6][7] As a child, she sang in the choir of the Kilnerton Training Institute in Pretoria, a Methodist primary school that she attended for eight years.[8] Her singing was remarked upon while she was at school.[2] Makeba was baptised a Protestant, and participated in church choirs, where she sang in English as well as Xhosa, Sotho, and Zulu; she later said that she learnt to sing in English before she could speak the language.[4]

The family moved to Transvaal when Makeba was a child. After her father's death, she was forced to find employment, and did domestic work for a while,[2] and also worked as a nanny. She described herself as a shy individual at the time.[9] Her mother did domestic work for white families in Johannesburg, and therefore had to live quartered away from her family of six children. Makeba lived for a while with her grandmother and a large number of cousins in Pretoria.[4] Makeba later said that her family's musical tastes were an influence on her; her mother played several traditional instruments, while her elder brother collected records, including of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, and taught Makeba songs. Her father also played the piano, and his musical inclination would later be a factor in Makeba's family accepting her choice of career seen as risque.[4]

In 1949, Makeba married James Kubay, a policeman in training, with whom she had her only child, Bongi Makeba, born in 1950. Makeba was then diagnosed with breast cancer, and her husband, who was said to have beaten her, left her shortly afterwards, after a two-year marriage.[2][3][9][4] Her cancer was successfully treated by her mother.[2] A decade later she would successfully overcome cervical cancer via a hysterectomy.[4]

Early career

Makeba began her professional musical career with the South African band the Cuban Brothers, with whom she sang covers of popular American songs.[10] Soon afterward, at the age of 21, she joined a South African jazz group, the Manhattan Brothers, who sang a mixture of South African songs and pieces from popular African-American groups.[10] She also joined an all-woman group, The Skylarks (previously known as The Sunbeams), singing a blend of jazz and traditional melodies of South Africa.[6] Makeba sang with the Skylarks when the Manhattan Brothers were travelling abroad, though she would eventually travel with them as well. While with the Skylarks Makeba sang alongside Rhodesian-born musician Dorothy Masuka, whose music Makeba had followed, along with that of Dolly Rathebe. Several of the Skylark's pieces from this period became popular, and musical historian Rob Allingham would describe the groups as "real trendsetters, with harmonisation that had never been heard before."[2][4] Makeba received no royalties from her work with the Skylarks.[11]

While performing with the Manhattan Brothers in 1955, Makeba met the young lawyer Nelson Mandela; Mandela later remarked that he remembered the meeting, and felt the girl he met "was going to be someone."[4] In 1956, Gallotone Records released "Lovely Eyes", Makeba's first solo success, in both English and Xhosa; however, the Xhosa lyrics about a man looking for his beloved in jails and hospitals was replaced with the unrelated and innocuous line "You tell such lovely lies with your two lovely eyes" in the English version. The record was also released in the US, and became the first South African record to chart on the Billboard Top 100.[4]

In 1959, Makeba sang the lead female role in the Broadway-inspired South African musical King Kong;[8] among those in the cast was musician Hugh Masekela.[12] The musical was performed to racially integrated audiences, raising her profile among white South Africans.[2] Also in 1959, she had a short guest appearance in Come Back, Africa, an anti-apartheid film produced and directed by American independent filmmaker Lionel Rogosin.[13] The film, which blended elements of documentary and fiction, had to be filmed in secret, as the government was expected to be hostile to it. Makeba's part in it was short: she appeared briefly on stage, and sang two songs: the whole appearance lasted four minutes.[14] The cameo made an enormous impression on the viewers, and Rogosin organised a visa for her to attend the premiere of the film at the twenty-fourth Venice Film Festival in Italy, where the film won the prestigious Critics' Award.[13][15]

Makeba's role in Come Back, Africa brought her international recognition and led to her travelling to London and New York to perform.[2] While in London she met Harry Belafonte, who became her mentor, helping her with her first solo recordings.[16] These included "Pata Pata", which would be released many years later, and a cover of "The Click Song" , which had been first performed with The Skylarks.[2] Though "Pata Pata" (described as a "groundbreaking Afropop gem"[17]) would become her most famous song, Makeba herself would describe it as "one of my most insignificant songs".[18] While in England, she also had a brief marriage to Sonny Pillay, a South African ballad singer of Indian descent.[3] They divorced within a few months, and Makeba then went to New York; she made her debut in the United States on 1 November 1959 on The Steve Allen Show,[2][3][12] and her New York debut at the Village Vanguard, after which her reputation grew rapidly.[19] Belafonte, who had also helped Makeba with her move to the US, handled logistics for her first performances.[20]


United States

I always wanted to leave home. I never knew they were going to stop me from coming back. Maybe, if I knew, I never would have left. It is kind of painful to be away from everything that you've ever known. Nobody will know the pain of exile until you are in exile. No matter where you go, there are times when people show you kindness and love, and there are times when they make you know that you are with them but not of them. That's when it hurts.
—Miriam Makeba[21]

Soon after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, when Makeba was still outside South Africa, she learned that her mother had died. When she tried to return home for the funeral, she found that her South African passport had been cancelled.[2][22] Two of Makeba's family members were killed in the massacre. The incident left her concerned about her family, many of whom were still in South Africa, including her daughter: the nine-year-old Bongi would join her mother in the US in August 1960.[23] She also felt a responsibility to do something to help, as she had been able to leave the country while others had not.[24] From this point Makeba became an increasingly outspoken critic of apartheid and the white minority government; before the massacre, she had taken care to avoid overtly political statements in South Africa.[24]

Her musical career in the United States continued to flourish. She released many of her most famous hits in the US, including "The Click Song" ("Qongqothwane" in Xhosa), and "Pata Pata". Time called her the "most exciting new singing talent to appear in many years," and Newsweek compared her voice to "the smoky tones and delicate phrasing" of Ella Fitzgerald and the "intimate warmth" of Frank Sinatra.[6] She signed with the recording label RCA Victor, and released Miriam Makeba, her first studio album, in 1960, backed by Belafonte's band.[22][11] However, RCA chose to buy out Makeba's contract with Gallotone Records, and despite the fact that Makeba was unable to perform in South Africa, Gallotone received 45,000 US dollars in the deal, which meant that Makeba received no royalties for her debut album.[11] In 1962, Makeba and Belafonte sang at the birthday party for US President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, but Makeba did not go to the aftershow party because she was ill. Kennedy insisted on meeting her, though, so Belafonte sent a car to pick her up.[25]

In 1963, Makeba released her second studio album for RCA, The World of Miriam Makeba. An early example of world music, the album peaked at number eighty-six on the Billboard 200.[22][26] Commentators have stated that Makeba's music had a cross-racial appeal in the US; white Americans were attracted to her image as an "exotic" African performer, while black Americans related their own experiences of racial segregation to Makeba's struggle against apartheid.[27][28] Makeba found company among other African exiles and émigrés in New York, including Hugh Masekela, to whom she was married from 1963 to 1968.[19] She also came to know a number of American celebrities, including actors Marlon Brando and Lauren Bacall and musicians Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles.[19] However, she would also later describe her difficulty living with racial segregation, stating "There wasn't much difference in America; it was a country that had abolished slavery but there was apartheid in its own way."[4]

Makeba being welcomed during a visit to Israel in 1963

Makeba's music was popular in Europe as well, and she traveled and performed there frequently. She expanded her repertoire, acting on the advice of Belafonte, adding to her South African music songs from Latin America, Europe, Israel, and elsewhere in Africa.[19] She visited Kenya in 1962, and later that year she testified before the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid about the effects of the system, asking for economic sanctions against the National Party government in South Africa. She specifically requested an arms embargo against South Africa, stating that weapons sold to the government would likely be used against black women and children.[29] As a result, her South African citizenship and her right to return to the country were revoked.[8][4] Makeba thus became a stateless individual, but she was soon issued international passports by Guinea, Belgium and Ghana.[22] In her life, she held nine passports,[6] and was granted honorary citizenship in ten countries.[25]

Soon after her testimony, Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia, invited her to perform at the inauguration of the Organisation of African Unity: she was the only performer so invited.[2] As the fact of her ban from South Africa became well known she became a cause célébre for Western liberals, and her presence in the African-American civil rights movement provided a link between that movement and the struggle against apartheid.[30] In 1964 she was taught the song "Malaika" by a Kenyan student while backstage at a performance in San Francisco; the song would later become a staple of her performances. Throughout the 1960s Makeba became more involved with the civil rights movement in the US, the Black consciousness movement, the Black power movement, and the movement against apartheid. While engaged in activist work she met Stokely Carmichael, the leader of the Black Panthers.[2] In 1964 she testified at the UN a second time, quoting a song by Vanessa Redgrave in calling for quick action against Pretoria.[31]

In 1966, Makeba received the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording together with Belafonte for An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba.[26] The album dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid, including several songs critical of the South Africa government.[22][32] The album sold widely, and was largely responsible for Makeba achieving popular recognition in the US.[33] Makeba's use of lyrics in Swahili, Xhosa, and Sotho led to her being seen as a representation of an "authentic" Africa by American audiences.[34] In 1967, more than ten years after she first recorded the song, the single "Pata Pata" was released in the US on an album of the same title, and became a worldwide hit.[35][36]


Makeba in 1969

Her marriage to Trinidad-born civil rights activist and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael in 1968 caused controversy in the US, and her record deals and tours were cancelled.[8] White American audiences stopped supporting her, and the US government also took an interest in her activities. The Central Intelligence Agency began following her, and placed hidden microphones in her apartment,[32] while the Federal Bureau of Investigation also placed her under surveillance.[4][37] While she and her husband were travelling in the Bahamas, she was banned from returning to the US, and was refused a visa. As a result, the couple moved to Guinea, where Carmichael changed his name to Kwame Touré.[2] Makeba would not return to the US until 1987.[38]

Guinea would be Makeba's home for the next 15 years, and she and her husband became close with President Ahmed Sékou Touré and his wife, Andrée.[6][9] Touré wanted to create a new style of African music, and all musicians received a minimum wage if they practiced for some hours every day. Makeba later stated that "I've never seen a country that did what Sékou Touré did for artists."[25] After her rejection from the US she began to write music more directly critical of the racial policies of the US government, recording and singing songs such as "Lumumba" in 1970, (referring to Patrice Lumumba, the assassinated prime minister of the Congo), and "Malcolm X" in 1974.[39]

I'd already lived in exile for 10 years, and the world is free, even if some of the countries in it aren't, so I packed my bags and left.
—Miriam Makeba[40]

She began to perform more frequently in African countries, and as a number of countries became independent of European colonial powers, was invited to sing at independence ceremonies, including in Kenya, Angola, and Mozambique. She also became a diplomat for Ghana,[39] and was appointed Guinea's official delegate to the United Nations. She separated from Carmichael in 1973 [2] and continued to perform in Europe and Asia, in addition to her African concerts, but not in the US, where a de facto boycott was in effect.[40] Her performances in Africa were immensely popular: she was described as the highlight of FESTAC 77, a Pan-African arts festival in Nigeria in 1977, and during a performance of "Pata Pata" in Liberia, the stadium she was singing in was so loud she was unable to complete the song.[39] "Pata Pata", like her other songs, had been banned in South Africa.[39] Makeba later stated that it was during this period that she accepted the label "Mama Africa".[39] She addressed the United Nations General Assembly again in 1975.[6]

In 1976 South Africa decided to implement the use of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in all schools instead of English, setting off the Soweto Uprising.[41] Between 15,000 and 20,000 students took part; the police, caught unprepared, opened fire on the protesting children,[42][43] killing hundreds and injuring over a thousand.[43] Hugh Masekela wrote "Soweto Blues" in response to the massacre, and the song was performed by Makeba, becoming a staple of her live performances for many years.[44] A review in the magazine Musician said that the song had "searingly righteous lyrics" about the uprising that "cut to the bone."[17] In 1978 Makeba divorced Carmichael, and in 1980 married Bageot Bah, an airline executive.[2][3]


I look at an ant and see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit. I look at a bird and I see myself: a native South African, soaring above the injustices of apartheid on wings of pride, the pride of a beautiful people.
—Miriam Makeba[45]

After her daughter Bongi died in childbirth in 1985, Makeba decided to move out. She settled in the Woluwe-Saint-Lambert district of the Belgian capital Brussels.[6][46] In the following year, Masekela introduced Makeba to Paul Simon, and a few months later she embarked on the very successful Graceland Tour.[47][40][48] The tour concluded with two concerts held in Harare, Zimbabwe,[49] which were filmed in 1987 for release as Graceland: The African Concert. After touring the world with Simon, Warner Bros. Records signed Makeba and she released Sangoma ("Healer"), an album of healing chants named in honour of her mother who was a "sangoma".[40] Her involvement with Simon also caused controversy: Graceland had been recorded in South Africa, breaking the cultural boycott of the country, and thus Makeba's participation in the Graceland tour was seen as also breaking the boycott, for which Makeba herself strongly advocated.[2]

In preparation for the Graceland tour, she worked with journalist James Hall to write an autobiography titled Makeba: My Story. The book contained descriptions of her experience with apartheid, and was also critical of the commodification and consumerism she experienced in the US.[50] She took part in the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, a popular-music concert staged on 11 June 1988 at Wembley Stadium, London, and broadcast to an audience of 600 million across 67 countries.[51][52] Political aspects of the concert were heavily censored in the US by the Fox television network.[53] The use of music to raise awareness about apartheid paid off: a survey after the concert found that among people aged between 16 and 24, three-quarters knew of Mandela, and supported his release from prison.[52]

Return to South Africa

In 1990, as a result of a growing movement against apartheid within the country and increasing domestic and international pressure, State President of South Africa Frederik Willem de Klerk reversed the ban on the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid organisations, and announced that Mandela would shortly be released from prison.[54][55] Mandela, who was effectively released from Victor Verster Prison on 11 February 1990,[56] persuaded Makeba to return to South Africa. She returned home on 10 June 1990, on her French passport.[6][57]

Makeba and Dizzy Gillespie in Calvados, France, 1991

In 1991, Makeba, with Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone and Masekela, recorded and released her studio album, Eyes on Tomorrow. It combined jazz, R&B, pop, and traditional African music, and was a hit across Africa. Makeba and Gillespie then toured the world together to promote it.[40] In November of the same year, she made a guest appearance on The Cosby Show.[58] In 1992, she starred in the film Sarafina!, which centered on students involved in the 1976 Soweto youth uprisings.[4] Makeba portrayed the title character's mother, Angelina, a role which the New York Times described her as playing with "immense dignity".[59]

On 16 October 1999, Makeba was named a Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.[60] In January 2000, her album, Homeland, produced by the New York City based record label Putumayo World Music, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best World Music Album category.[4][61][62] She worked closely with Graça Machel-Mandela, who at the time was the South African first lady, for children suffering from HIV/AIDS, child soldiers, and the physically handicapped.[6][63] She also took part in the 2002 documentary Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony, which examined the struggles of black South Africans against apartheid through the music of the period.[64] Makeba's second autobiography, Makeba: The Miriam Makeba Story, was published in 2004.[3] In 2005 she announced that she would retire, but despite having osteoarthritis, continued to perform until her death.[25]

On 9 November 2008, Makeba fell ill while taking part in a concert organised to support writer Roberto Saviano in his stand against the Camorra, a mafia-like organisation local to the region of Campania. The concert was being held in Castel Volturno, near Caserta, Italy. She suffered a heart attack after singing her hit song "Pata Pata", and was taken to the Pineta Grande clinic, where doctors were unable to revive her.[65][a][66] Her publicist stated that Makeba had suffered "severe arthritis" for some time.[67]

Musical style and themes

The groups with which Makeba began her career performed mbube, a style of vocal harmony which drew on American jazz, ragtime, and Anglican church hymns, as well as indigenous styles of music.[2] Johannesburg musician Dolly Rathebe was an early influence on Makeba's music.[25][2] Historian David Coplan states that the "African jazz" that was made popular by Makeba and others was "inherently hybridized" rather than derivative of any particular genre, blending as it did marabi and jazz, and was "Americanized African music, not Africanized American music."[68] In over thirty years of performing outside South Africa, Makeba did not greatly change her repertoire.[2] The music that she performed was described by British writer Robin Denselow as a "unique blend of rousing township styles and jazz-influenced balladry".[25] She has been associated with the genre of world music,[4] as well as with Afropop. She also incorporated Latin American musical styles into her performances.[17]

She stated that she did not perform political music, but music about her personal life in South Africa, which included describing the pain she felt living under apartheid.[9][25] She once stated "people say I sing politics, but what I sing is not politics, it is the truth", a position seen as an example of the mixing of personal and political issues for musicians living during apartheid.[69] When she first entered the US, she avoided discussing apartheid explicitly, partly out of concern for her family still in South Africa.[23] Nonetheless, she is known for using her voice to convey the political message of opposition to apartheid,[70] performing widely and frequently for civil rights and anti-apartheid organisations. Even songs that did not carry an explicitly political message were seen as subversive, due to their being banned in South Africa.[71]

She was known for having a dynamic vocal range,[2] and was described as having an emotional awareness during her performances.[2] She was able to vary her voice considerably: an obituary remarked that she "could soar like an opera singer, but she could also whisper, roar, hiss, growl and shout. She could sing while making the epiglottal clicks of the Xhosa language."[9] Her use of the clicks common in languages such as Xhosa and Zulu (notably in "Qongqothwane", "The Click Song") was frequently remarked upon by Western audiences. It contributed to her popularity and her exotic image, which scholars have described as a kind of othering, exacerbated by the fact that Western audiences often could not understand her lyrics.[18][72] She would also dance during her performances.[9] Although she sang in English and several African languages, she never sang in Afrikaans, which was the language of the apartheid government in South Africa.[73] Despite the success that made her a star in the US, she wore no makeup and refused to curl her hair for shows, thus establishing a style that would come to be known internationally as the "Afro look".[4][13] She kept her hair short, refusing to straighten it, and stuck to wearing African jewelry; she also disapproved of the skin-lighteners common among South-African women at the time.[74][75] These decisions have been characterised by scholars as a rejection of the predominantly white standards of beauty that women in the US were held to, which also allowed Makeba to escape to an extent the sexualisation directed at women performers during this period.[76]


Makeba has been credited with popularizing world music, along with artists such as Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita, Ali Farka Toure, Angelique Kidjo, and Baaba Maal (pictured clockwise from top left).

Makeba was among the most visible Africans in the United States; as a result, she was often emblematic of the continent of Africa for people in the US.[33] Her music earned her the moniker "Mama Africa",[9] and she was variously described as the "Empress of African Song",[2][67] the "Queen of South African music",[77] and Africa's "first superstar".[25] Speaking after her death, Mandela called her "South Africa's first lady of song", and said that "her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us."[78][67] She was thus credited with bringing African music to a Western audience, and along with artists such as Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita, Ali Farka Toure, Baaba Maal and Angelique Kidjo, with popularising the genre of world music.[4][37] Her work with Belafonte in the 1960s has been described as creating the genre of world music before the concept entered the popular imagination, and also as highlighting the diversity and cultural pluralism within African music. A record liner stated that Makeba's "multifaceted" music "knocks down walls, bridges barriers, and transforms a dozen different languages into a universal tongue."[35]

Makeba was also among the most visible individuals campaigning against the apartheid system in South Africa,[9][66] and was responsible for popularising a number of anti-apartheid songs, including "Meadowlands" by Strike Vilakezi and "Ndodemnyama we Verwoerd" (Watch out, Verwoerd) by Vuyisile Mini.[64] Due to her high profile, she became a spokesperson of sorts for Africans living under oppressive governments, and in particular for black South Africans living under apartheid.[79] When the South African government prevented her from entering her home country, she became a symbol of "apartheid’s cruelty",[73] and she used her position as a celebrity by testifying against apartheid before the UN in 1962 and 1964.[31] Many of her songs were banned within South Africa, leading to Makeba's records being distributed underground, and even her innocuous songs being seen as subversive. She thus became a symbol of resistance to the white minority government both within and outside South Africa.[4] She has also been associated with the movement against colonialism, with the civil rights and black power movements in the US, and with the Pan-African movement.[4]

Notable songs and albums

This is a list of albums and songs, including covers, by Miriam Makeba that received significant mention in commentary about her or about the musical and political movements she participated in.

Awards and recognition

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ Francesco Longanella, medical director of the Pineta Grande Clinic, told Reuters that "[Miriam Makeba] arrived [at the Pineta Grande Clinic] at 11:15 pm [of 9 November 2008], [but that she was] already dead [...] [we] tried to revive her for three quarters of an hour." (Translated from Italian)[65]


  1. ^ "Miriam Makeba official website". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Ewens, Graeme (11 November 2008). "Obituary: Miriam Makeba". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Allen, Lara (2011). "Makeba, Miriam Zenzi". In Akyeampong, Emmanuel K.; Gates, Henry Louis Jr. Dictionary of African Biography. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-985725-8. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Jaggi, Maya (29 April 2000). "The return of Mama Africa". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ Carmichael, Stokely; Thelwell, Michael (2003). Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture). Simon & Schuster. pp. 651–652. ISBN 978-0-684-85003-0. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nkrumah 2001.
  7. ^ Schwarz-Bart 2003, p. 208.
  8. ^ a b c d Kaufman 2006, p. 333.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Miriam Makeba obituary". The Economist. 13 November 2008. 
  10. ^ a b Sizemore-Barber 2012, p. 260.
  11. ^ a b c d Lusk, Jon (11 November 2008). "Miriam Makeba: Singer banned from her native South Africa for fighting apartheid". The Independent. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Bordowitz 2004, p. 246.
  13. ^ a b c Schwarz-Bart 2003, p. 214.
  14. ^ Feldstein 2013, pp. 56–57.
  15. ^ "Venice Film Festival (1959)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  16. ^ Kaufman 2006, p. 313.
  17. ^ a b c d Cheyney, Tom (1 March 1990). "Miriam Makeba Welela". Musician (137): 84. 
  18. ^ a b Sizemore-Barber 2012, p. 258.
  19. ^ a b c d Sizemore-Barber 2012, p. 256.
  20. ^ Feldstein 2013, p. 52.
  21. ^ Bordowitz 2004, p. 247.
  22. ^ a b c d e f Poet 2009, p. 1.
  23. ^ a b Feldstein 2013, p. 68.
  24. ^ a b Sizemore-Barber 2012, pp. 261–262.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i Denselow, Robin (16 May 2008). "The long goodbye". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  26. ^ a b c "Miriam Makeba Charts & Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  27. ^ Sizemore-Barber 2012, p. 255.
  28. ^ Feldstein 2013, p. 67.
  29. ^ Feldstein 2013, p. 73.
  30. ^ a b c Sizemore-Barber 2012, pp. 262–263.
  31. ^ a b Feldstein 2013, pp. 73–74.
  32. ^ a b c d Sizemore-Barber 2012, pp. 265–266.
  33. ^ a b Sizemore-Barber 2012, pp. 252–253.
  34. ^ Sizemore-Barber 2012, pp. 257–260.
  35. ^ a b Feldstein 2013, p. 77.
  36. ^ "Pata Pata". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  37. ^ a b c Feldstein 2013, p. 53.
  38. ^ Sizemore-Barber 2012, p. 267.
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  • Bordowitz, Hank (2004). "Miriam Makeba". Noise of the World: Non-western Musicians in their Own Words. Brooklyn, NY: Soft Skull. ISBN 1-932360-60-3. OCLC 56809540. 
  • Feldstein, Ruth (2013). How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement. New York City, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-531403-8. 
  • Kaufman, Alan (9 October 2006). "Miriam Makeba (from Noise of the World / Hank Bordowitz)". The Outlaw Bible of American Essays. New York: Thunder's Mouth. ISBN 1-56025-935-3. OCLC 74175340. 
  • Makeba, Miriam; Hall, James (1988) [1987]. Makeba: My Story. New York: New American Library. ISBN 0-453-00561-6. OCLC 16131137. 
  • Makeba, Miriam; Mwamuka, Nomsa (2004). Makeba: The Miriam Makeba Story. Johannesburg: STE. ISBN 1-919855-39-4. OCLC 57637539. 
  • Schwarz-Bart, Simone; Schwarz-Bart, André; Réjous, Rose-Myriam (2003). Modern African Women. In Praise of Black Women, Volume 3. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. ISBN 0-299-17270-8. OCLC 66731111. 
  • Nkrumah, Gamal (1–7 November 2001). "Mama Africa". Al-Ahram Weekly. Cairo, Egypt (558). Archived from the original on 7 March 2004. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  • Poet, J. (11 February 2009). "Miriam Makeba: Mama Africa Goes Home". Feature Story. New York: Crawdaddy!. 
  • Schumann, Anne (2008). "The Beat that Beat Apartheid: The Role of Music in the Resistance against Apartheid in South Africa" (PDF). Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien. 14 (8). Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  • Sizemore-Barber, April (July–October 2012). "The Voice of (Which?) Africa: Miriam Makeba in America". Safundi: the Journal of South African and American Studies. 13 (3–4): 251–276. doi:10.1080/17533171.2012.715416. 

Further reading

  • Barlow, Sean; Eyre, Banning; Vartoogian, Jack (1995). Afropop!: An Illustrated Guide to Contemporary African Music. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books. ISBN 0-7858-0443-9. OCLC 34018600. 
  • Lucia, Christine (2005). The World of South African Music: A Reader. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. ISBN 1-904303-36-6. OCLC 62531717. 
  • Pareles, Jon (8 March 1988). "Books of the Times; South African Singer's Life: Trials and Triumphs". The New York Times, Books. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 

External links

  • Miriam Makeba discography at Discogs
  • Miriam Makeba at National Public Radio
  • Jolaosho, Tayo (Spring 2014). "Anti-Apartheid Freedom Songs Then and Now". Folkways Magazine. Smithsonian. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  • "Hommage a Miriam Makeba – Festival d'Ile de France". AOL Video. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  • Miriam Makeba at the Internet Broadway Database
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