Most of us have heard of her name mentioned like some distant echo in the mountains far beyond the horizon, but we've probably never really listened to Zenzile Miriam Makeba's music. But here are the facts about the Mother of African Pop Music, Mama Miriam Makeba:
She won a Grammy Award in 1965 for Best Folk Song (even Akon's never gotten a Grammy)
Her song 'Pata Pata' was lodged in the Billboard Top 10 in 1967
The following is the official statement from her website:
The world was dealt a blow early this morning, in a small town outside Naples, Italy when Zenzile Miriam Makeba, Mama Afrika to the world, passed away... and left this earth, aged 76 years. She was born on 4th March 1932.
Whilst this great lady was alive she would say “I will sing until the last day of my life”
Zenzile Miriam Makeba collapsed on stage, at the end of her set, after singing Pata Pata,. She was immediately attended to by her grandson Nelson Lumumba Lee and others before being rushed to the nearest hospital. Tragically, in the early hours of this 10th of November 2008 morning, the doctors pronounced that they were unable to revive her.
Ambassador Makeba, was with her band, and was performing before an outdoor audience, in the open air at Via Verde, in the small town of Castelvolturno, not far from Naples. The audience included her long time friend, Italian promoter, Roberto Meglioli, who she had called on Friday from Holland, and asked to attend her show. He was on stage with her at the end of the show, and there she collapsed into his arms.
Dr Miriam Makeba never forgot her struggle through her life, and never stopped identifying with those who were downtrodden and who suffered. An activist to the end, the event where she was performing at, was an Anti-Racism and Anti-Mafia Event. “Mazi” as she was affectionately known by those who knew her well, never shied from speaking her mind and standing for her beliefs. She was an outstanding South African, a and indeed a gracious and true citizen of the World.
Zenzile Miriam Makeba is survived by her grandchildren Nelson Lumumba Lee and Zenzi Monique Lee, and her great- grandchildren Lindelani, Ayanda and Kwame.