RIP Mama Africa

Posted by · 4:18 pm · November 10th, 2008

It may not be strictly movie-related — though she did enjoy a couple of screen appearances, most notably in Darrell James Roodt’s “Sarafina!” — but I can’t let the passing of the great Miriam Makeba go unacknowledged. As a Grammy-winning musician, influential political activist and all-round symbol of a country’s hopes, she was treasured not only by South Africans like myself, but by the world at large.

It is interesting — and not a little fitting — that Makeba died performing for another noble cause: she collapsed on stage after performing at a benefit concert in Italy for Roberto Saviano, the author (and co-screenwriter) of “Gomorrah,” whose work in exposing the workings of the Naples mafia has put his own life in danger. That Makeba, after all she has accomplished for her own people, was prepared to work for this cause too is really a measure of the woman.

The various obits are full of clips of “Pata Pata” and “The Click Song,” but I love the purity of her voice and urgency of the storytelling on this 1966 performance of “Khawuleza.” If you’re not moved by this, something is wrong with you.

→ 2 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

2 responses so far

  • 1 11-10-2008 at 8:24 pm

    Mr. F said...

    I had never heard of her, but that video was amazing. She had a great voice.

  • 2 11-11-2008 at 4:47 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Glad to hear you say that, Mr F. Check out more of her work — that’s just a taste of a vast career.