Rest in Peace, "Mama Africa"

by Eva Holland Nov 15, 2008

South African singer Miriam Makeba died this week at age 76.

Nicknamed Mama Africa, Makeba was known throughout the world not only for her singing but for her stand against South Africa’s apartheid regime. As this BBC story notes, Nelson Mandela has called her both the “mother of our struggle” and “South Africa’s first lady of song.”

Miriam Makeba was the first black artist to win a Grammy award, in 1965.

Here’s one of Makeba’s signature tracks, The Click Song, and another famous one, Pata Pata:

Finally, here are a couple of performances from Paul Simon’s final stop on the Graceland tour, a massive outdoor show in Zimbabwe in 1987.

First, Miriam Makeba performing Soweto Blues, and then a group rendition of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, the anthem of the anti-apartheid movement and now a part of South Africa’s official national anthem.

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