Miriam Makeba, Rip

by James Kirchick | November 11, 2008

Miriam Makeba, "Mama Africa," died yesterday at the age of 76. An outspoken opponent of apartheid, the singer wasn't allowed to live in her own country from 1960 until 1991, during which period the government revoked her passport. Makeba, perhaps more than anyone else, created "world music" with her medleys blending Xhosa tongue clicks, traditional jazz, folk and pop. Like Celia Cruz, who sang for the freedom of her native Cuba, she put her talents to use in the promotion of liberty and democracy.  Fittingly, her last performance was at a concert in support of the Italian journalist Roberto Saviano, who has received death threats for writing about the Italian mafia.

You can watch her most famous song, the irrestible "Pata Pata," below.

 --James Kirchick

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/miriam-makeba-rip