Mama Africa: A Look at Miriam Makeba’s Style
In the 1960’s, South African legend Miriam Makeba was known as Harry Belafonte’s protégé. Belafonte believed in Makeba’s star power and used his influence to give her a platform in America. Of course the American actor couldn’t help falling in love with the charming African beauty’s talent. He wasn’t the only one, Miles Davis, Sidney Poitier, Nina Simone and many others praised Makeba’s artistry. She is widely credited as the first African artist to make African music popular around the globe. Makeba performed for many dignitaries including former President Kennedy in 1962. Born in Johannesburg in 1932, Makeba’s story was not an easy one, she was exiled for years and faced many hardships including losing her daughter, Bongi Makeba. Her career was even threatened when she married activist Stokely Carmichael.
Through it all, Makeba’s incredible fortitude continues to inspire us all. When she died in 2008, many mourned her death including Nelson Mandela.
“The sudden passing of our beloved Miriam has saddened us and our nation. … Despite her tremendous sacrifice and the pain she felt to leave behind her beloved family and her country when she went into exile, she continued to make us proud, as she used her worldwide fame to focus attention on the abomination of apartheid. … Her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us.” – Nelson Mandela
Makeba’s style continues to inspire this generation and the generations to come. Click continue to take a look back at Mama Africa.