Miriam Makeba turns 81: 5 Songs to remember

2013-03-04 11:27
Commemorations and tributes for the late Miriam Makeba on what would have been her 81st birthday, have been pouring in.

From Google creating a doodle on their homepage in honour of the late singer, to many fellow artists honouring her birthday on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, many have agreed that a great void has been left by the passing of the songstress.

Having released more than 30 albums during her vast career, Mama Afrika took African music onto the world's stage.

We take a look at some of her most memorable songs and performances:

1. Pata Pata:

The song that made Mama Afrika a household name in South Africa was a cover of Zimbabwean jazz singer Dorothy Masuka's hit. Pata Pata was first released while Miriam was still living in South Africa, but was re-released while the songstress was living in the US after being exiled from South Africa. The song went on to achieve great success on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

2. Beware, Verwoerd! :

With its Afro-pop melodies, Miriam put the spotlight on the apartheid government of South Africa, while at the same time masking a political message that most state censors did not take notice of. In an instant, the song became an anthem for the oppressed masses, who went about chanting "Beware, Verwoerd" during protests.

3. The Click Song:

Hailed as one of her catchiest tunes,The Click Song was given a more English westernised name, as the original Xhosa title, Qongqothwane, was too hard to pronounce. In an interview done with a US magazine during her time of exile, Miriam said that the song refers to "a dreamy Xhosa bride".

4. South African Freedom Song ft. Hugh Masekela:

Teaming up with former husband and fellow South African musician Hugh Masekela, Miriam yet again highlighted why she was know as Mama Afrika with a song based on South Africa's trials and tribulations during and after apartheid.

5. Africa Is Where My Heart Lies - performance done August 2008:

In what is hailed as one of her last concerts in Norway, Mama Afrika highlighted why Africa will always hold such a special place in her heart. During an interview with a UK newspaper, Miriam said: "I'm not a political singer… I don't know what the word means. People think I consciously decided to tell the world what was happening in South Africa. No! I was singing about my life, and in South Africa we always sang about what was happening to us - especially the things that hurt us."

Sources: zar.co.za/makeba, sahistory.org.za, answers.com

Read more on:    miriam makeba  |  music  |  celebrities

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