11 November, 2008

The Passing of an Icon

Any one who listens to African music or has followed South Africa's struggle for independence, will undoubtedly have heard of Mama Afrika. She is no longer with us: Miriam Makeba died on Sunday after a concert in Italy. What they say about the greatest songstress from South Africa:
The sudden passing of our beloved Miriam has saddened us … For many decades, starting in the years before we went to prison, MaMiriam featured prominently in our lives and we enjoyed her moving performances. When she went into exile she continued to make us proud as she used her worldwide fame to focus attention on the abomination of apartheid. Her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us. She was a mother to our struggle and to the young nation of ours. Nelson Mandela
...the world was slightly better because of Makeba's serenading and was now poorer for her death......We give great thanks to God for this tremendous gift of Miriam Makeba. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. Our condolences to her bereaved family. Desmond Tutu
...unique songbird whose tunes were inspiring, always reminding us of our humanity and obligation to other human beings. Former president Thabo Mbeki
One of the greatest songstresses of our time has ceased to sing. Throughout her life, Mama Makeba communicated a positive message to the world about the struggle of the people of South Africa and the certainty of victory over the dark forces of apartheid and colonialism through the art of song. South Africa's foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
We acknowledge the huge role she played in bringing global awareness to African music during the time she lived abroad and she will always be remembered as the mother of African music. South African filmmaker Anant Singh
May God rest her soul in Peace.

Photo: FAO

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