According to the BBC, Miriam Makeba has passed away. Makeba was one of South Africa’s most famous and most respected musicians.
Her career has spanned decades, and in fact she was one of a few South African artists to be exiled after speaking out against apartheid. She was exiled in the early 1960s and didn’t manage to make it back to South Africa until Mandela was free.
She was incredibly beloved in the West as well. She performed with Paul Simon, appeared on the Cosby Show (in what has to be one of the most political moments of the Cosby Show’s long run). She even won a Grammy, becoming the first black woman to do so.
It truly is a tragic day, because she was a strong unifying force for Africa in general. Musically, she was loved all over the massive continent. It was hard to find anyone who could be critical of her, and this type of deeply respected individual is rarer and rarer these days.
Rest in Peace, Mama Africa.
In her memory, here is Pata Pata, one of her most famous songs.