Afrobeat Culture Federator


Friday 9 November 2018 by Mabinuori Idowu (aka ID)

Zensi Miriam Makeba
(4 March 1932 – 9 November 2008).

Zensi Miriam Makeba (nicknamed Mama Africa), was a Black South African Grammy Award-winning singer and civil rights activist who spoke-out against apartheid in South Africa. Born in Prospect Township near Johannesburg; South Africa on March 4, 1932, to a Xhosa father and a Swazi mother. Makeba campaigned against the South African apartheid system, and the South African government responded by revoking her passport in 1960 and her citizenship and right to return to her country in 1963. She would only return home for the first time in 1990, after the apartheid system crumbled.

She was one of the first artists from Africa in the 60s, 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 Masakela. Makeba married the famous South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela in 1964 but the couple divorced in 1966, following Makeba’s release of the album: An Evening with Belafonte & Makeba. In 1968, Makeba got married to African-American civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael (aka Kwame Toure). With Carmichael, the couple settled in Conakry, Guinea and they separated in 1979 after nearly a decade of marriage.

Miriam Makeba continued making music and fighting for causes that she believed in until her death, following a heart attack on November 9, 2008, at the age of 76, in Castel Volturno, Italy. My last meeting with Mama Africa took place many years after my departure from Fela’s Organization. It was after her concert at the Volkshouse in Zurich, we talked about Fela and our attempt to contact her in Guinea. She ended our discussion with this beautiful autograph below.
Rest in perfect PEACE Mama AFRICA!


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