South African Singer Miriam Makeba Dies at 76


Published: November 10, 2008

To be the voice of a nation speaking to the wider world is a tough mission for any performer. To be the voice of an entire continent is exponentially more difficult. Both were mantles that the South African singer Miriam Makeba took on willingly and forcefully. Despite her lifelong claim that she was not a political singer, she became “Mama Africa” with an activist’s tenacity and a musician’s ear. She died Sunday, at 76, after a concert in Italy.

Treating her listeners as one global community, Ms. Makeba sang in any language she chose, from her own Xhosa to the East African lingua franca Swahili to Portuguese to Yiddish. She also took sides: against South African apartheid and for a worldwide movement against racism, to the point of derailing her career when she married the black power advocate Stokely Carmichael in the late 1960s. (They were divorced in the mid-1970s.) Even during three decades of life as an exile and expatriate — the South African government revoked her passport in 1960 — she made it clear that South Africa was her home and her bedrock as an artist. Read More.

1 Response to “South African Singer Miriam Makeba Dies at 76”

  1. 1 Brian Barker Nov 11th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    What an imazing life. I did not know of Miriam’s language knowledge, especially when English now wishes to be the World’s dominant language.

    There is an alternative to English as the dominant World Language, and its name is Esperanto.

    Esperanto is now within the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the CIA factbook. It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and in use by Skype, Firefox and Facebook.

    Native Esperanto speakers, include George Soros, Ulrich Brandenburg the new German Ambassador to NATO, and World Champion Chess Player, Susan Polger.

    The World Esperanto Association enjoys consultative relations with both the United Nations and UNESCO.

    Evidence can be seen at

    An interesting video can be seen at

Comments are currently closed.


















Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.