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Miriam Makeba

(3/4/1932 - 11/10/2008)

Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba is, hands down, the most important female vocalist to emerge from South Africa. From her earliest years with the Manhattan Brothers in the 1950s, and for five decades thereafter, she has remained an important figure in the growth of African music.

As with most South African musicians, her life was not an easy one. The daughter of a mystical healer from the Xhosa tribe, she was imprisoned while still in her infancy. Many years later, while in her late 20s, her citizenship was revoked because of her outspoken views about apartheid. For the next three decades, she was forced to claim herself as a “citizen of the world.” And yet, despite this and other struggles, she remained optimistic and forward thinking throughout her life.

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