Miriam Makeba RIP
True to form, Makeba was singing in protest when she collapsed near Caserta in southern Italy. “Mama Africa”, as she was known, was singing in support of an Italian author facing mafia death threats. She was the first African woman to win a Grammy. She lived in exile in the United States after starring in the anti-apartheid documentary “Come Back, Africa” in 1959. Her music was outlawed in her native country as she spent decades unable to return.
Even in the US she provoked controversy when she married Blank Panthers leader Stokely Carmichael in 1968, the third or her five husbands. While still in exile in 1987, she performed with Paul Simon at his Graceland concert in South Africa’s neighboring country, Zimbabwe. It took her six years to find a producer for her album “Homeland” after she finally returned to South Africa following the fall of apartheid.
Ms. Makeba was performing in support of the Italian author Roberto Saviano, author of the mafia expose Gomorrah in front of 1000 people. She had just finished her half-hour performance when, as there were calls for an encore, she fainted.
RIP Miriam Makeba.
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Copyright 2008 Liberaland