Miriam Makeba
Singer, songwriter and civil rights activist
Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba, nicknamed Mama Africa, was a Grammy Award-winning South African singer and civil rights activist. In the 1960s she was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music in the U.S. and around the world. She is best known for the song "Pata Pata", first recorded in 1957 and released in the U.S. in 1967. She recorded and toured with many popular artists, such as Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, and her former husband Hugh Masekela.
Biography
Miriam Makeba's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Miriam Makeba from around the web
Pink Martini Album Is Happy Hour for Progressives
Huffington Post - 3 months
It's been said that God created war to teach Americans geography, but the band Pink Martini has a better idea. The 15-member Portland band, formed in 1994, has become a de facto cultural ambassador, exposing European audiences to the classic American songbook and introducing Americans to songs from around the world, singing in 24 languages so far. With its new album, Je Dis Oui! (French for "I Say Yes"), which is one of its strongest, Pink Martini has coincidentally created a timely balm for a spiritually bruised country. Interviewed on the morning after Election Day, bandleader Thomas Lauderdale said the album was their "happiest" in recent years and "it's just in the nick of time" given the mood of the country and the progressive band. The upbeat album, Lauderdale said, was a result of a recording process that "unfolded magically....The whole thing was effortless and not labored....There were no showdowns in the studio and nobody cried." Lauderdale said Donald Trump' ...
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Huffington Post article
An Appreciation: Lewis Merenstein, producer of Van Morrison masterpiece 'Astral Weeks'
LATimes - 5 months
Even if Lewis Merenstein hadn’t produced records by Gladys Knight & the Pips, Miriam Makeba, John Cale, the Spencer Davis Group, Mama Cass Elliot and numerous other acts, music fans would owe him a debt of deep gratitude if the only recording he helped usher into existence had been Van Morrison’s...
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LATimes article
Mega Jazz Action Coming To New York This Fall
Huffington Post - 6 months
By Dan Ouellette, ZEALnyc's Senior Editor, September 8, 2016 After a summer's worth of primo jazz festivals spread all over the city of New York and throughout North America and Europe, you'd think that the end of August would signal the shuttering of 2016's jazz celebrations. Think again. The party was really just getting started as the two most important jazz festivals in the world launch in September. First, there was the Detroit International Jazz Festival (on Labor Day weekend, September 2-5). It's in its 37th year and prides itself in being the world's largest free jazz fest, featuring top-tier artists as well as talented Detroiters performing on four major downtown outdoor stages and in a nightly jam session at the Detroit Marriot's indoor Renaissance Center. Then a couple of weeks later the Monterey Jazz Festival--a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean (the smell of salt in the air as well as oftentimes chilly fog-driven temps)--stages its three-day jazz-and-beyond bash o ...
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Huffington Post article
Margie Goldsmith: Sweet Honey In the Rock Is Ready to Rock NYC
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
Sweet Honey In The Rock (photo courtesy of Sweet Honey In The Rock) Sweet Honey In The Rock is coming to B.B. King's on March 5th. It's been 39 years since this all female African-American a cappella group was formed and for four decades the group has been singing out for justice, truth and entertaining, educating and empowering audiences. The only difference between now and 40 years ago is that the present audiences now include three family generations. "Their genres of music have expanded," says Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, singer, composer, arranger, author and master teacher who has been with the group for 34 years. "The subject matter has also expanded as individual members and the group seek to articulate what is important: domestic violence, immigration, hazards of work, greed, education, HIV/AIDS, respect for elders and ancestors, issues of growing up, spirituality and racism, for example." I recently caught up with Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, whom I'd met a couple of y ...
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Huffington Post article
Google honours Miriam Makeba with a doodle
The Times of India - almost 4 years
Google honours Miriam Makeba with a doodle
Article Link:
The Times of India article
Nora Chipaumire’s Dance About Miriam Makeba Comes to BAM
NYTimes - over 4 years
Nora Chipaumire’s latest dance work, “Miriam,” inspired by the South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba, will have its New York premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
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NYTimes article
The Week in TBA
The Portland Mercury - over 4 years
The Mercury's quick picks for TBA's first week. by Mercury staff LAST WEEK, the Mercury published a complete guide to the 10th annual Time-Based Art Festival—an immersive look at the 11-day contemporary art festival that's about to invade performance venues all over Portland. The festival starts this weekend, so here's a quick recap of this week's most exciting offerings—from a Mexican theater company and dancers from Zimbabwe and New York to DJ nights at Washington High School, the festival's de facto home base. For more on TBA:12, see portlandmercury.com/tba. ALISON HALLETT ___________________________________________________________ Big Art Group, The People—Portland The tech-savvy Big Art Group is all about mixing the high and low, the digital and the analog. For The People—Portland, members of the New York-based experimental performance ensemble came out to Portland for a week and interviewed dozens of regular citizens, as ...
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The Portland Mercury article
African Dance
The Portland Mercury - over 4 years
Nora Chipaumire's choreography considers displacement, exile, and African identity. by Jenna Lechner CAN DANCE address politics? How, and what would it look like? Several TBA:12 performers engage that question, including choreographer and dancer Nora Chipaumire. Chipaumire grew up during apartheid and guerilla warfare in Zimbabwe, immigrating to the United States in 1989. She began dancing shortly thereafter and has since garnered a fair amount of attention—she's received two coveted Bessie Awards and was the topic of the 2008 documentary Nora (which screened at the Museum of Modern Art). When dancing, Chipaumire has a hypnotizing effect. She moves with focus and fury, her head shaved and her sculpted body taut. She often crouches, her legs cast wide, her head down. Her steps tend toward stomps. She flails her arms, and then she flings her entire body to the ground in tireless repetition. Her topics—displacement, exile, and African ide ...
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The Portland Mercury article
South African Singer Lira Reveals Her Style Secrets
Radar Online - over 4 years
By Debbie Emery - Radar Reporter South African singer Lira wowed fans on the red carpet at the BET Awards last month and now the pop star is exclusively revealing the secrets of her global style to RadarOnline.com. "My style is very embracing of my African self. Nothing reflects who we are as well as our own designs," Lira told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive interview. "They are colorful, and vibrant. They also celebrate hand-crafted work." PHOTOS: Radar’s Who Wore It Best Weekly Roundup Having grown up in Johannesburg’s East Rand, the Afro-Soul vocalist, who refers to her music as “a fusion of soul, funk, elements of jazz and African," said her biggest style icon is Miriam Makeba. "She made African fashion world famous. I also love fashion from the 20s and 30s. Classic elegance!" she gushed. PHOTOS: The CFDA Fashion Awards Best Worst And Wackiest Dressed "On the BET Award's Red Carpet I wore a one sleeve red silk gown by a South African designer named Sylvester Falata, wh ...
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Radar Online article
Michael Giltz: Paul Simon's Graceland Turns 25 -- Part Four: A Track by Track Review
Huffington Post - over 4 years
PAUL SIMON: GRACELAND 25TH ANNIVERSARY DELUXE BOXED SET: $119.98 CD/DVD SET: $15.98 LP: $24.98 Paul Simon's album Graceland has turned 25 sounding better than ever. Its impact on music and culture is vast and any list of the best albums of all time looks silly if Graceland doesn't appear on it somewhere. The bestselling solo album for an artist who continues to produce great music, Graceland is a landmark, but not one that has grown dusty with Importance. It's not just a "significant" work with historical meaning; it's also an exhilarating collection of songs as timeless and current as ever. This is the fourth of a four-part series covering the boxed set, its cultural impact, the story of the boycott and the music itself. You can buy the album in any configuration from Paul Simon's website or any major outlet. PART FOUR: THE ALBUM, TRACK BY TRACK When an album becomes as popular as Graceland, when it becomes part of the musical landscape for decades, it can be easy ...
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Huffington Post article
Paul Simon's 'Graceland' 25th anniversary box set is a trove of riches
LATimes - over 4 years
It might seem there'd be little left to say about Paul Simon’s watershed 1986 album “Graceland,” which is being reissued today in a deluxe four-disc 25th anniversary box set. Paul Simon collected Grammy Awards for the title track and the album as record and song of the year, it was No. 71 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and introduced millions of listeners to the wonders of the music of South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo, among its other attributes. But the new box set does indeed help shed new light on the music and the entire project with the various bonus features that now accompany the original album. Chief among them is the disc containing Joe Berlinger’s fascinating documentary “Under African Skies,” laying out the controversy of Simon violating the United Nations’ cultural boycott of South Africa’s racist apartheid system when he recorded several tracks in Johannesburg with the members of Ladysmith and other musicians from the region. ...
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LATimes article
NJPAC Announces Schedule of Events
Belleville Patch - almost 5 years
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has announced its schedule for the 2012-13 season, which is filled with new festivals, curatorial and artistic collaborations, and community partnerships, programs and artist outreach that will take place within and beyond its stages. Throughout the season, NJPAC will continue to add performances. NJPAC is located at 1 Center St. "Our 2012-13 season will be filled with the sounds of surprise" said John Schreiber, NJPAC's president and CEO. "We've consciously scheduled more curtains and added significantly to the artistic mix. In addition to what audiences have come to love and expect from the Arts Center, we're introducing new programs that will be unique to the region. If you already love NJPAC, there's plenty on the roster for you. And if you haven't yet been to the theater or visited in a long time, we think our expanded schedule will offer something to engage everybody." Single tickets are now onsale and may be purchased by calling ...
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Belleville Patch article
Editorial: Ice Age
Cape Times - almost 5 years
Antarctica, once the only uninhabited continent on the globe, is now home to scientsts and technicians from around the world. ||| ANTARCTICA, once the only uninhabited continent on the globe, is now home to scientsts and technicians from around the world. They live in comfortable accommodation at bases with hi-tech communications and scientific equipment that the early explorers could not have dreamed of. South Africa is one of the countries with a permanent research base in the Antarctic, built 200km inland on a rocky outcrop called Vesleskarvet. The base is new, but the old ice-breaker, the SA Agulhas, which had ferried research and support staff down to the ice for many years, had begun to feel her age. It was only a matter of time before the old ship could no longer make the voyage down south, and the South African National Antarctic Programme would have come to a standstill. The scientific research that had continued uninterrupted since the early 1960s, both in Antarc ...
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Cape Times article
Music review: Soweto Gospel Choir at Disney Hall
LATimes - almost 5 years
Soweto Gospel Choir was as much to look at as to listen to Wednesday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, where the lively South African ensemble played the final date of an extensive North American tour. Clothed in brightly patterned fabrics that seemed to ripple with movement of their own, the group’s 23 members used choreographed motion to punctuate body-centric rhythms and pulled off high kicks verging on the lightly acrobatic; one fellow even did what appeared to be a modified version of the break-dancing move known as the worm. “Feel free to stand up — and to dance,” said one of the choir’s principal singers before a rendition of Miriam Makeba’s “Pata Pata.” The audience was happy to oblige. Formed a decade ago in the townships outside Johannesburg, Soweto Gospel Choir tends to the same choral-singing tradition as the longer-running Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and like that outfit, this one thinks on a global scale: In 2007 it collaborated with Robert Plant on a Fats Domino tribu ...
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LATimes article
Around Town: Indiana Jones rides back into town
LATimes - almost 5 years
 ArcLight Cinemas, celebrating their10th anniversary this year, asked filmgoers to choose classic movies for this month's ArcLight Presents. And they came up with some popular choices. Screening Sunday at the ArcLight Hollywood is Stanley Kubrick's 1968 sci-fi epic "2001: A  Space Odyssey," with Steven Spielberg's 1981 blockbuster "Raiders of the Lost Ark" set for Monday evening. "Raiders" is also on tap for Sunday and Wednesday at the ArcLight Pasadena. The ArcLight Sherman Oaks has Rob Reiner's 1987 comedy "The Princess Bride" scheduled for Sunday evening, with Robert Zemeckis' 1985 time-traveler comedy "Back to the Future" screening Tuesday. And the ArcLight Beach Cities is unspooling Spielberg's 1993 dinosaur thriller, "Jurassic Park," on Sunday and Wednesday.  http://www.arclightcinemas.com The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre is presenting the 1959  drama "Come Back, Africa," the second feature from Lionel Rogosin,  director of "On the Bowery," for a week's engageme ...
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LATimes article
WNYC’s New York African Film Festival Picks
WNYC - Culture - almost 5 years
You know when a film festival has made an impact … it’s when journalists whose audience can’t possibly see any of the films showing start to cover it. The New York African Film Festival has been in that category for quite some time.  Years before I moved to New York, I used to report on the festival for international audiences. It wasn’t a ploy for getting a free trip to Manhattan either, my boss never fell for that one! However, I did get to share with international audiences some of the emerging trends in African cinema, which were explored, celebrated and curated at a New York film festival of all places. In the early days people were just curious to see what African filmmakers were producing. Now mainstream media is being influenced by movies in the festival program. Just this week, the CBS program “60 Minutes” reported on Central Africa’s only symphony orchestra in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Last year the documentary that inspired the “60 Minutes” story ...
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WNYC - Culture article
The Grammys Need To Recognize Four Great Artists as Lifetime Achievement Honorees
TV Week - about 5 years
When I was growing up the Grammys meant less than zero to me and my friends. We paid them no attention whatsoever. Here’s an example of why. In 1965 some of the nominees for Best Folk Recording were Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte, Miriam Makeba, Woody Guthrie and Peter, Paul & Mary. And the Grammy went to Gale Garnett for “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine,” which was more pop than folk and definitely lightweight. Over the years, however, the Grammys -- which will be telecast this Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 -- have grown up and have made more relevant choices. Beginning back in 1962, the Grammys did a better job with its first four selections for Lifetime Achievement Award: Crosby, Sinatra, Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. In the 1970s the Grammys only bestowed the Lifetime Achievement accolade three times, to Elvis, Louis Armstrong and Mahalia Jackson. But starting in 1986, realizing that there were many more performers deserving of Lifetime kudos, the Grammys began naming mult ...
Article Link:
TV Week article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Miriam Makeba
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2008
    Age 75
    On 9 November 2008, she became ill while taking part in a concert organised to support writer Roberto Saviano in his stand against the Camorra, a mafia-like organisation local to the Region of Campania.
    More Details Hide Details The concert was being held in Castel Volturno, near Caserta, Italy. Makeba suffered a heart attack after singing her hit song "Pata Pata", and was taken to the Pineta Grande clinic, where doctors were unable to revive her. Her publicist notes that Makeba had suffered "severe arthritis" for some time. She and family members were based in Northriding, Gauteng, at the time of her death. From 25 to 27 September 2009, a tribute show to Makeba entitled Hommage à Miriam Makeba and curated by Grammy Award-winning Beninoise singer-songwriter and activist Angélique Kidjo for the Festival d'Ile de France, was held at the Cirque d'hiver in Paris. The same show but with the English title of Mama Africa: Celebrating Miriam Makeba was held at the Barbican in London on 21 November 2009. Mama Africa, a documentary film about the life of Miriam Makeba, co-written and directed by Finnish film director Mika Kaurismäki, was released in 2011. On 4 March 2013 Google honored her with a doodle on the homepage.
  • 2005
    Age 72
    Makeba started a worldwide farewell tour in 2005, holding concerts in all of those countries that she had visited during her working life.
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  • 2004
    Age 71
    In 2004, Makeba was voted 38th in the Top 100 Great South Africans.
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  • 2002
    Age 69
    She also took part in the 2002 documentary Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony, where she and others recalled the struggles of black South Africans against the injustices of apartheid through the use of music.
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  • 2001
    Age 68
    In 2001, she was awarded the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold by the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) in Berlin, "for outstanding services to peace and international understanding". She shared the Polar Music Prize with Sofia Gubaidulina. The prize is regarded as Sweden's foremost musical honour. They received their Prize from Carl XVI Gustaf King of Sweden during a nationally-televised ceremony at Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, on 27 May 2002.
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  • 2000
    Age 67
    In January 2000, her album, Homeland, produced by Cedric Samson and Michael Levinsohn for the New York City based record label Putumayo World Music, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best World Music Album category.
    More Details Hide Details She worked closely with Graça Machel-Mandela, who at the time was the South African first lady, for children suffering from HIV/AIDS, child soldiers, and the physically handicapped.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1992
    Age 59
    In 1992, she starred in the film Sarafina!
    More Details Hide Details The film's plot centers on students involved in the 1976's Soweto youth uprisings, and Makeba portrayed the title character's mother, "Angelina". The following year she released Sing Me a Song. On 16 October 1999, Miriam Makeba was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
  • 1991
    Age 58
    In 1991, Makeba, with Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone and Masekela, recorded and released her studio album, Eyes on Tomorrow.
    More Details Hide Details It combined jazz, R&B, pop, and African music, and was a hit in Africa. Makeba and Gillespie then toured the world together to promote it. In November of the same year, she made a guest appearance in the episode "Olivia Comes Out of the Closet" of The Cosby Show.
  • 1990
    Age 57
    She returned home on 10 June 1990, on her French passport.
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    Mandela, who was effectively released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl on 11 February 1990, persuaded Miriam Makeba to return to South Africa.
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    Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Tribute increased pressure on the government of South Africa to release Mandela, and in 1990, State President of South Africa Frederik Willem de Klerk reversed the ban on the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid organisations, and announced that Nelson Mandela would shortly be released from prison.
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  • 1988
    Age 55
    She took part in the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, a popular-music concert staged on 11 June 1988 at Wembley Stadium, London, and broadcast to 67 countries and an audience of 600 million.
    More Details Hide Details Also referred to as Freedomfest, Free Nelson Mandela Concert, and Mandela Day, the event called for Mandela's release.
  • 1985
    Age 52
    After the death of her daughter Bongi in 1985, she decided to move to Brussels.
    More Details Hide Details In the following year, Hugh Masekela introduced Makeba to Paul Simon, and a few months later she embarked on the very successful Graceland Tour, which was documented on music video. Two concerts held in Harare, Zimbabwe, were filmed in 1987 for release as Graceland: The African Concert. After touring the world with Simon, Warner Bros. Records signed Makeba and she released Sangoma ("Healer"), an a cappella album of healing chants named in honour of her mother who was a "sangoma" ("a healer"). Shortly thereafter, her autobiography Makeba: My Story was published and subsequently translated from English into other languages including German, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish.
  • FORTIES
  • 1978
    Age 45
    She divorced Carmichael in 1978 and married an airline executive in 1980.
    More Details Hide Details I'd tell them, ‘I sing all around the world—Asia, Africa, Europe—but if you don't sing in the US, then you haven’t really made it.’ That's why I'll always be grateful to Paul Simon.
  • 1975
    Age 42
    She addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the second time in 1975.
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  • 1973
    Age 40
    She also separated from Carmichael in 1973 and continued to perform primarily in Africa, Europe and Asia, but not in the United States, where a de facto boycott was in effect.
    More Details Hide Details Makeba was one of the entertainers at the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held in Zaïre.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1968
    Age 35
    Her marriage to Trinidad-born civil rights activist, Black Panther, and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael in 1968 caused controversy in the United States, and her record deals and tours were cancelled.
    More Details Hide Details As a result, the couple moved to Guinea, her home for the next 15 years, where they became close with President Ahmed Sékou Touré and his wife, Andrée. Makeba was appointed Guinea's official delegate to the United Nations, for which she won the Dag Hammarskjöld Peace Prize in 1986.
  • 1967
    Age 34
    In 1967, more than ten years after she wrote the song, the single "Pata Pata" was released in the United States and became a worldwide hit.
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  • 1964
    Age 31
    In 1964, Makeba and Masekela were married, divorcing two years later. In 1966, Makeba received the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording together with Harry Belafonte for An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba.
    More Details Hide Details The album dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid, and it was one of the first American albums to present traditional Zulu, Sotho and Swahili songs in an authentic setting. From the time of her New York debut at the Village Vanguard, her fame and reputation grew. She released many of her most famous hits in the United States, including "The Click Song" ("Qongqothwane" in Xhosa) and "Malaika". Time called her the "most exciting new singing talent to appear in many years," and Newsweek compared her voice to "the smoky tones and delicate phrasing" of Ella Fitzgerald and the "intimate warmth" of Frank Sinatra. Despite the success that made her a star in the U.S., she wore no makeup and refused to curl her hair for shows, thus establishing a style that would come to be known internationally as the "Afro look".
  • 1963
    Age 30
    In 1963, Makeba released her second studio album for RCA, The World of Miriam Makeba.
    More Details Hide Details An early example of world music, the album peaked at number eighty-six on the Billboard 200. Later that year, after she testified against apartheid before the United Nations, her South African citizenship and her right to return to the country were revoked. She was a woman without a country, but the world came to her aid, and Guinea, Belgium and Ghana issued her international passports, and she became, in effect, a citizen of the world. In her life, she held nine passports, and was granted honorary citizenship in ten countries.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1960
    Age 27
    She signed with RCA Victor and released Miriam Makeba, her first U.S. studio album, in 1960. In 1962, Makeba and Belafonte sang at John F. Kennedy's birthday party at Madison Square Garden, but Makeba did not go to the aftershow party because she was ill.
    More Details Hide Details President Kennedy insisted on meeting her, so Belafonte sent a car to pick her up and she met the President of the United States.
    Makeba then travelled to London where she met Harry Belafonte, who assisted her in gaining entry to the United States and achieving fame there. When she tried to return to South Africa in 1960 for her mother's funeral, she discovered that her South African passport had been cancelled.
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  • 1959
    Age 26
    She made her U.S. debut on 1 November 1959 on The Steve Allen Show.
    More Details Hide Details I never knew they were going to stop me from coming back. Maybe, if I knew, I never would have left. It is kind of painful to be away from everything that you've ever known. Nobody will know the pain of exile until you are in exile. No matter where you go, there are times when people show you kindness and love, and there are times when they make you know that you are with them but not of them.
    She had a short-lived marriage in 1959 to Sonny Pillay, a South African singer of Indian descent.
    More Details Hide Details Her break came in that year when she had a short guest appearance in Come Back, Africa, an anti-apartheid documentary produced and directed by American independent filmmaker Lionel Rogosin. The short cameo made an enormous impression on the viewers and Rogosin managed to organise a visa for her to attend the première of the film at the twenty-fourth Venice Film Festival in Italy, where the film won the prestigious Critics' Award. That year, Makeba sang the lead female role in the Broadway-inspired South African musical King Kong; among those in the cast was musician Hugh Masekela.
  • 1956
    Age 23
    As early as 1956, she released the single "Pata Pata", which was played on all the radio stations and made her name known throughout South Africa.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1950
    Age 17
    In 1950 at the age of 18, Makeba gave birth to her only child, Bongi Makeba, whose father was Makeba's first husband James Kubay.
    More Details Hide Details Makeba was then diagnosed with breast cancer, and her husband left her shortly afterwards. Her professional career began in the 1950s when she was featured in the South African jazz group the Manhattan Brothers, and appeared for the first time on a poster. She left the Manhattan Brothers to record with her all-woman group, The Skylarks, singing a blend of jazz and traditional melodies of South Africa.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1932
    Born
    Born on March 4, 1932.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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