A look at the Mothers of African Music this Mother’s Day

Nathalie Mensah May 13, 2019

Miriam Makeba aka “Mama Africa”

One of the first artists from Africa who was embraced across the African diaspora in addition to being the first African female to win a Grammy was South Africa’s Miriam Makeba. Miriam was able to bring the modern African music of her time to U.S. stages and receive praise for what audiences considered a new style. She played Folk and Jazz festivals and would sing in her original language of Xhosa which was unheard of at the time.

In addition to her talent, Miriam was a strong voice against apartheid, yet a victim of its stronghold. After appearing in an American documentary criticizing apartheid, she learned that she was banned from entering her home country in 1960 after trying to go back home for her mother’s funeral. Miriam wouldn’t come back until 30+ years later.

Known for: “Pata Pata” and “An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba”

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