Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba was one of the first African musicians who won international stardom and whose music was always anchored in her traditional South African roots. Miriam Makeba was forced into exile in 1959.

She sang for John F. Kennedy, performed with Harry Belafonte and Nina Simone, was married to Hugh Masekela and also Stokely Carmichael.

Her life was tumultuous. She always stood for truth and justice. She fought for the oppressed most importantly for black Africans, as a campaigner against apartheid. She died November 2008 after a concert in Italy.

Mika Kaurismäki’s documentary, traces fifty years of her music and her performing life. Through rare archive footage of her performances and through interviews with her contemporaries we discover the remarkable journey of Miriam Makeba.

2011. 90 minutes. Documentary. NR.

“A portrait of a woman … whose dynamic range and earth-wide smile made the words and sounds pouring from her like a hand extended, a heart exposed, a story of the world made achingly real.”

Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“Mama Africa shows how Miriam Makeba was the antithesis of a diva. Right up until her death in 2008, she was a woman who cared too damn much.”

Craig D. Lindsey, Nashville Scene

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