What a legend. What an incredible life story. This woman embodied the sound of African music, started a revolution in her own way, inspired generations for years to come, and took the spotlight gracefully without ever losing touch with her earthy African roots. With a voice that alternated between silky smooth, tender, soft, deeply sensuous, and fiercely intense, she used her powerful vocals and socially conscious lyrics to call for change in her native South Africa. She cried out against the unjust Apartheid system that was tearing her nation apart and causing so much suffering. Exiled from her native land because of her politically fiery songs, she was not allowed to return to South Africa for years, and could not even go back to bury her mother or pay her respects on her mother's death.
Rest in peace Miriam Makeba, Mama Afrika.
"On stage, Miriam Zenzi Makeba exuded an uncommon grace that was unforced just like the simple lyrics of her songs that has thrilled audiences across the world for decades. You need not understand the lyrics of her songs to appreciate both the intensity of their message, or the ingenuity that underpin them. They were simple country ballads and village lores that evoke memories of lost innocence, an idyllic existence that speaks to our shocking repudiation of brotherhood and community. Yet, those innocent lyrics, devoid of any fiery rebuke, were considered atrocious by South Africa’s then apartheid government which revoked her citizenship and right to return to her home country, after her appearance in a riveting anti-apartheid documentary, Come Back Africa, in 1960. Thus began a spell in exile that spanned decades from the United States (from where she fled after series of harassment from the authorities) and later Guinea. The Guinean government of Sekou Toure gave her all the courtesies a continent’s mother (she is popularly called Mama Africa) deserves, even asking her to address the United Nations General Assembly on its behalf. She did that twice, and on each occasion spoke out against the evils of apartheid." source
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