Miriam Makeba, Mama Africa, has gone to join the ancestors

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http://www.sowetan. co.za/News/ Article.aspx? id=881298


Miriam Makeba, "one of the greatest songstresses of our time", died last night.

Sowetan Online
Sheba Kane Lo

10 November 2008

 


"Miriam Makeba, South Africa's Goodwill Ambassador, died performing what she did best - an ability to communicate a positive message through the art of singing," South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said. "Throughout her life, Mama Makeba communicated a positive message to the world about the struggle of the people of South Africa and the certainty of victory over the dark forces of apartheid colonialism through the art of song."

The foreign ministry said the 76-year-old Makeba died at the Veneto Verde hospital near Naples after performing at the Castel Volturno.
"She collapsed as she was leaving the stage.
She received paramedic assistance and was rushed to hospital where she unfortunately passed away," the foreign ministry said in a statement.  "On behalf of our President Kgalema Motlanthe, our ambassadors and high commissioners stationed abroad, management and staff of the department of foreign affairs, we convey our heartfelt condolences to members of the bereaved family," said Dlamini-Zuma.

Makeba, affectionately known as Mama Africa, sang about Africa's struggles for independence.
"People gave me that name. At first I said to myself: 'Why do they want to give me that responsibility, carrying a whole continent?' Then I understood that they did that affectionately. So I accepted. I am Mama Africa," she told AFP in an interview in 2005. 
Makeba, whose most famous hits included Pata Pata, The Click Song (Qongqothwane in Xhosa) and Mailaka, died after taking part in a concert for Roberto Saviano, a writer threatened with death by the Mafia, the Italian news agency Ansa said.

Miriam Zenzi Makeba was born in Johannesburg on March 4, 1932. According to Wikipedia, her mother was a Swazi sangoma and her father, who died when she was six, was a Xhosa. As a child, she attended a training institute in Pretoria for eight years where she first started singing.Her professional career kicked off in the 1950s with the Manhattan Brothers, before she formed her own group, The Skylarks.

She grabbed international attention in 1959 when she starred in the anti-apartheid documentary Come Back, Africa. After that, she went to London where she met Harry Belafonte. He helped her get entry to the United States, where she released many of her famous songs.

She received a Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording in 1966 with Harry Belafonte for An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba. The album was about black South Africans living under apartheid.
When she tried to return to South Africa, she discovered that her passport had been revoked.
She testified against apartheid before the United Nations in 1963.

She was married to musician Hugh Masekela and Trinidadian civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael, who was also the leader of the Black Panthers. When her only daughter, Bongi Makeba, died in 1985, she moved to Brussels. Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela persuaded her to return to South Africa in 1990.She was always optimistic about post-apartheid South Africa, even though she acknowledged that it came with its own problems.

"We have only had 11 years of democracy but we are moving, we are moving forward faster than many countries who have been independent a long, long time before.
We all have to do it together, all of us, found ourselves this country regardless [whether] we are black, white or whatever," she said in the interview with AFP. Asked who the next Makeba would be, she replied: "No, nobody can replace me as I can't replace anyone else," said the singer, who added that she wanted to leave a memory of, simply, a "very good old lady". - Sapa

Send your Miriam Makeba tributes by email to
tellus@sowetan. co.za.

 

http://www.indigenes-republique.fr/une.php3?id_article=220


Miriam Makeba meurt au combat


par Pierre-Eudes COOPER

10/11/2008


Figure de la cause noire et combattante anti-apartheid acharnée, Miriam Makeba est morte quasiment sur scène, dans la nuit de dimanche à lundi, en Italie. La chanteuse sud-africaine, âgée de 76 ans, a succombé à un arrêt cardiaque peu après être sorti de scène où elle avait chanté pour soutenir Roberto Saviano, cet auteur menacé de mort par la mafia.

 

C’est une voix qui s’éteint. La voix d’une chanteuse mais surtout la voix du peuple noir sud-africain longtemps opprimé par les lois iniques de l’apartheid. A 76 ans, le coeur de Miriam Makeba a lâché dans la nuit après un dernier concert de soutien à Caserte, non loin de Naples. Cette fois, "Mama Africa" avait chanté pour soutenir l’auteur italien de Gomorra, Roberto Saviano, menacé de mort par la mafia, et condamné à l’exil.

 

L’exil, Miriam Makeba en a souffert pendant près de trente ans. En 1959, trois ans après avoir signé ce qui reste son plus grand succès, Pata Pata, la native d’un bidonville de Johannesburg était contrainte de quitter son pays pour être apparue dans un film anti-apartheid, Comme-back Africa. Elle allait pourtant en devenir une de ses ambassadrices les plus célèbres avec Nelson Mandela. L’Afrique du sud, elle n’y retournera qu’en 1990, à l’invitation justement du plus célèbre prisonnier anti-apartheid, récemment libéré et qui allait en devenir le président.


Pendant ces trente ans, Miriam Makeba n’a jamais cessé de combattre l’injustice du racisme à travers sa musique. Un combat qui a fait d’elle une citoyenne du monde. Elle obtient ainsi des titres de citoyenneté dans plusieurs pays dont la France en 1990. Honorée aux Etats-Unis en 1966 par un Grammy pour son disque avec Harry Belafonte, elle n’abandonne pas pour autant ses convictions. Bien au contraire. En 1969, son mariage avec le chef des Black Panthers, Stokely Carmichael, lui vaudra d’être surveillée de très près par la CIA, ce qui conduira le couple à s’installer en Guinée.

 

Dimanche soir, Miriam Makeba était une nouvelle fois sur scène, pour un autre combat pour la liberté. Après avoir interprété plusieurs chansons, elle a fait un malaise. Elle a alors été conduite à la clinique Pineta Grande où elle s’est éteinte.


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