Miriam Makeba (March 4, 1932 – Nov. 9, 2008) “Mama Africa,” was a South African singer & civil rights activist who campaigned abroad for the end of the oppressive policy of apartheid.
As a result of her activism, her South African passport was revoked in 1960 by the apartheid regime, and she was banned from her country in 1963. However, the world came to Makeba’s aid. Guinea, Belgium & Ghana as well as 6 other countries issued her passports. She was granted honorary citizenship in 10 countries.
Her resume included working with Harry Belefonte, Paul Simon & performing for Pres. John Kennedy. Despite pressures from the music industry & her continued success, she refused to wear makeup or curl her hair for performances in preference of a more natural look. Her marriage to Black Panther Stokely Carmichael caused bit the stir here in the US, but she continued to advocate for human Rights. She continued to fight against apartheid and for the 1st time in 3 decades, she returned to her home in South Africa following the release of Nelson Mandela.
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