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“I’m not a political singer. I don’t know what the word means. People think I consciously decided

to tell the world what was happening in South Africa. No! I was singing about my life, and in

South Africa we always sang about what was happening to us—especially the things that hurt us."

 

 

 The Passing of South African Folksinger Miriam Makeba

Excerpts Compiled by Rudolph Lewis

 

Born in Johannesburg in 1932 to a Xhosa father and Swazi mother, Makeba—often called “Mama Afrika” and “the Empress of African Song”—left South Africa in 1959. When she tried to return for the funeral of her mother the following year, her passport was taken away and she was banned from the country. She addressed the UN in 1976 to denounce apartheid, after which her songs were banned in South Africa.

The singer lived in exile for over thirty years in the United States, France, West Africa and Belgium. She went back to South Africa in 1990, when the then President, FW de Klerk, began to introduce reforms which eventually ended in the dismantling of apartheid and the release from prison and subsequent election as President of Nelson Mandela.

Makeba sang with Harry Belafonte in the 1960s and with Paul Simon in the 1980s. She became the first black African woman to receive a Grammy award, sharing it with Belafonte, and her greatest hit song was “Pata Pata” (Xhosa for 'touch, touch'). She once said: “Through my music I became this voice and image of Africa and the people without even realising it.”TimesOnline

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Although Ms. Makeba had been weakened by osteoarthritis, her death stunned many in South Africa, where she stood as an enduring emblem of the travails of black people under the apartheid system of racial segregation that ended with the release from prison of Nelson Mandela in 1990 and the country’s first fully democratic elections in 1994.

In a statement on Monday, Mr. Mandela said the death “of our beloved Miriam has saddened us and our nation.”

He continued: “Her haunting melodies gave voice to the pain of exile and dislocation which she felt for 31 long years. At the same time, her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us.”

“She was South Africa’s first lady of song and so richly deserved the title of Mama Afrika. She was a mother to our struggle and to the young nation of ours,” Mr. Mandela’s was one of many tributes from South African leaders.

“One of the greatest songstresses of our time has ceased to sing,” Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a statement. “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 and colonialism through the art of song.”NYTtimes

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The first African to win a Grammy award, Makeba started singing in Sophiatown, a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Johannesburg that was a cultural hotspot in the 1950s before its black residents were forcibly removed by the apartheid government.

She then teamed up with South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekelalater her first husbandand her rise to international prominence started in 1959 when she starred in the anti-apartheid documentary "Come Back, Africa." When she tried to fly home for her mother's funeral the following year, she discovered her passport had been revoked.

In 1963, Makeba appeared before the U.N. Special Committee on Apartheid to call for an international boycott of South Africa. The white-led South African government responded by banning her records, including hits like "Pata Pata," "The Click Song" ("Qongqothwane" in Xhosa), and "Malaika."

Makeba received the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording in 1966 together with Belafonte for "An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba." The album dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid.

Thanks to her close relationship with Belafonte, she received star status in the United States and performed for President Kennedy at his birthday party in 1962. But she fell briefly out of favor when she married black power activist Stokely Carmichaellater known as Kwame Tureand moved to Guinea in the late 1960s.

Besides working with Simone and Gillespie, she also appeared with Paul Simon at his "Graceland" concert in Zimbabwe in 1987. After three decades abroad, Makeba was invited back to South Africa by Mandela shortly after his release from prison in 1990 as white racist rule crumbled.HuffingtonPost

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Her marriage to Trinidadian civil rights activist and Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael in 1968 caused controversy in the United States, and her record deals and tours were cancelled. As a result of this, the couple moved to Guinea, where they became close with President Ahmed Sékou Touré and his wife. Makeba separated from Carmichael in 1973, and continued to perform primarily in Africa, South America and Europe. She was one of the African and Afro-American entertainers at the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held in Zaïre. Makeba also served as a Guinean delegate to the United Nations, for which she won the Dag Hammarskjöld Peace Prize in 1986.

After the death of her only daughter Bongi Makeba in 1985, she moved to Brussels. In 1987, she appeared in Paul Simon's Graceland tour. Shortly thereafter she published her autobiography Makeba: My Story.

Return to South Africa

Nelson Mandela persuaded her to return to South Africa in 1990. In November 1991, she made a guest appearance in an episode of The Cosby Show, in the episode "Olivia Comes Out Of The Closet". In 1992 she starred in the film Sarafina!, about the 1976 Soweto youth uprisings, as the title character's mother, "Angelina." She also took part in the 2002 documentary Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony where she and others recalled the days of apartheid.

In January 2000, her album, Homeland, produced by Cedric Samson and Michael Levinsohn was nominated for a Grammy Award in the "Best World Music" category[6]. In 2001 she was awarded the Gold Otto Hahn Peace Medal by the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) in Berlin, "for outstanding services to peace and international understanding". In 2002, she shared the Polar Music Prize with Sofia Gubaidulina. In 2004, Makeba was voted 38th in the Top 100 Great South Africans. Makeba started a worldwide farewell tour in 2005, holding concerts in all of those countries that she had visited during her working life.Wikipedia

posted 15 November 2008 

Malcolm X—What Is The Black Revolution 1Malcolm X—What Is The Black Revolution 2  /  Night Catches Us  /  Miriam Makeba Interview 1969

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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