Mama Africa re­mem­bered 10 years on

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - SIPHUMELELE KHU­MALO siphumelele.khu­

TEN years af­ter mu­sic leg­end Miriam Makeba’s death, fam­ily and friends are fondly re­mem­ber­ing her last­ing legacy.

Makeba, af­fec­tion­ately known as Mama Africa, died of a heart at­tack dur­ing a con­cert in Italy in 2008.

Her grand­child Zenzi Makeba yes­ter­day said it had been a tough decade with­out her great­est sup­port sys­tem.

Makeba said: “I lost my mother, her only child, just be­fore I turned 13 and so my grand­mother raised me. There are so many mem­o­ries she left me with but the one thing I will take with me is how she taught me to love and re­spect my­self, deal with things hands on and fight for jus­tice.

“Even though los­ing my mother was painful, I am hon­oured to have had the priv­i­lege of be­ing raised by grandma. I re­ally miss and love her. It gets so much harder es­pe­cially at this time of the year.”

But she is happy that her grand­mother’s spirit still lives on.

“Mama rep­re­sented the flame of unity and even though she is gone, I can feel her spirit and it con­tin­ues to live on. Our fam­ily is light­ing can­dles to pay re­spects to our leg­endary grand­mother,” she added.

Long-time friend and leg­endary singer Dorothy Ma­suka said: “I re­ally miss Miriam a great deal. If there is any­one I miss the most in this world, it is my sis­ter. I miss spend­ing time with her and just be­ing in her pres­ence and do­ing things that sis­ters do.”

As part of com­mem­o­rat­ing her life, the Miriam Makeba Foun­da­tion will be screen­ing the movie Mama Africa at uni­ver­si­ties in South Africa.

Mama Africa was not only a singer but also a song­writer, ac­tress and an ac­tivist.

She was pop­u­lar for mu­sic across gen­res such as Afro pop, jazz and world mu­sic, and fought against apartheid.

Born in Jo­han­nes­burg to Swazi and Xhosa par­ents, Makeba was forced to find em­ploy­ment as a child af­ter the death of her father.

She had a brief and al­legedly abu­sive first mar­riage at the age of 17, gave birth to her only child in 1950, and sur­vived breast can­cer.

Her vo­cal tal­ent had been recog­nised when she was a child, and she be­gan singing pro­fes­sion­ally in the 1950s.

| Lu­lama Zen­zile African News Agency (ANA)

MIRIAM Makeba, nick­named Mama Africa, was a South African-born singer, song­writer, ac­tress, UN good­will am­bas­sador, and civil-rights ac­tivist.

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