Skip to content

Lady you should know about: Miriam Makeba

September 6, 2010

South African musician Miriam Makeba wasn’t just a Grammy Award-winning singer, she was a living, breathing testament to the global fight for equality. After making a name for herself as a successful musician and forming her own group, the Skylarks, Makeba left Africa in the ’60s and, with the help of Harry Belafonte, became well-known in the Western world for her distinct jazz-meets-folk-meets traditional African sound. Together with Belafonte, she won a Grammy in 1966 for Best Folk Recording.

After testifying against apartheid before the United Nations, Makeba – who became known as “Mama Afrika” because of her civil rights work – found out her passport was revoked and she had been essentially exiled from her home country. By this time, Makeba had started to gain popularity in the United States, but after her marriage to civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael in 1968, her record deals and tours were canceled. Makeba moved to Guinea (serving for a time as one of that country’s delegates – and as a Goodwill Ambassador – to the U.N.) and later to Brussels and back to South Africa, as Nelson Mandela himself had asked Makeba to return. Makeba continued to perform until her death in 2008.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: