Saturday, November 15, 2008

Remembering Miriam Makeba

South Africa pays tribute to `Mama Africa'

A trumpet wailed and poetry soared Saturday as South Africans remembered "Mama Africa," Miriam Makeba, for her music and her commitment to human rights.

The memorial service after Makeba's death Monday at the age of 76 followed two days of national mourning, with flags at half staff and books of condolences at the presidency and parliament — honors due a woman seen as an ambassador for the best values of her country, her continent and the world.

Nelson Mandela was among thousands of South Africans to pay tribute today to the singer and activist, who died suddenly after taking part in a benefit concert.

Makeba's death provoked shock and widespread mourning in a country enchanted by the sweetness and shining sound of her singing. Her celebrity and grace made her a powerful voice against apartheid, and she later championed women's and children's rights and other causes.

She died after collapsing during a concert in Italy in honor of six immigrants from Ghana who were shot to death in September in an attack blamed on organized crime.

At the height of her popularity, Makeba performed many hits, among them Pata Pata and The Click Song.

Related: Miriam Makeba, The long goodbye

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Ian Lidster said...

I saw Miriam Makeba way back in 1961 in a joint concert with Belafonte. I hate to admit how long ago that was, or to realize how young I was. But, I was intrigued by the 'click' song, and understood little about the politics with which she was contending at that evil time in her homeland. Thanks for this, lovely Deb.

Deb S. said...

Ian: Once again, you have one up on me. What I would have given to experience a Makeba/Belafonte concert!

Rethabile said...

The recording is a classic. The duo majestic.

Deb S. said...

Rethabile: Agreed. Thanks for stopping by.