Miriam Makeba

Article By Nichole Martin

Miriam Makeba, South African artist and diva, earned the title of Mama Africa after winning the world over with her harmonic crisp, South Africa-tinged vocals that sung of a country she loved and the injustices suffered there. The voice that gave courage and comfort to South Africans, who rallied against apartheid, became the one of the first African singers to be recognized as a worldwide sensation.

Born Zenzil Miriam Makeba in 1932, in Johannesburg, Makeba began her professional singing career as a featured artist with the South African jazz group the Manhattan Brothers in the 1950’s.  Shortly thereafter, she formed an all-female group, The Skylarks, and, in 1956, released  ‘Pata Pata’ which became one her most famous songs. Nevertheless, in spite of her early success, Makeba struggled financially receiving little in payment for her recordings and no provisional royalties. Read the full article in TRIBES Magazine Summer 2012 Spark Africa issue


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