Women’s History: Miriam Makeba [Mama Afrika]

Miriam Makeba: Xhosa singer and activist

According to Wikipedia:

Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 – 10 November 2008)[2] was a South African singer and civil rights activist. The Grammy Award winning artist is often referred to as Mama Afrika.

After being exiled from S. Africa, she moved to London, where she met and worked with Harry Belafonte in the early 1960s.  In 1966, she won the Grammy for Best Folk Recording w/ Harry Belafonte for An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba.

In 1963, her mother died, but she was not able to enter South Africa [passport revoked]  because she testified before the UN against the Apartheid government.

In addition to this, her marriage to Stokely Carmichael, Trinidadian and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Commitee leader, was considered controversial in the USA in 1968, so her record sales dropped.

She returned to South Africa in 1990, after Nelson Mandela negotiated for the allowal of her return.  After the death of her daughter Bongi Makeba, she moved to Brussels.

On 16 October 1999, Miriam Makeba was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).[6] In January 2000, her album, Homeland, produced by Cedric Samson and Michael Levinsohn[7] was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best World Music” category.[8] In 2001 she was awarded the Gold Otto Hahn Peace Medal by the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) in Berlin, “for outstanding services to peace and international understanding”. In 2002, she shared the Polar Music Prize with Sofia Gubaidulina. In 2004, Makeba was voted 38th in the Top 100 Great South Africans. Makeba started a worldwide farewell tour in 2005, holding concerts in all of those countries that she had visited during her working life. [4] [wikipedia]

She died  9 November 2008 of a heart attack in Castel Volturno, Italy at the age of 76.

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