She was the first of the great singers from her country to bring South African music to the world. In , she began a world tour and when she attempted to return home one year later, she was refused admittance. She has been in political exile now for 27 years. Miriam Makeba. Miriam Makeba was born in Prospect Township near Johannesburg in , during a time of economic depression. After her father died, Miriam was sent to live with her grandmother at a compound in Riverside, Pretoria.
Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song
Miriam Makeba: Five fast facts about the Mama Africa songstress
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Associated with musical genres including Afropop , jazz , and world music , she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. Born in Johannesburg to Swazi and Xhosa parents, Makeba was forced to find employment as a child after the death of her father. She had a brief and allegedly abusive first marriage at the age of 17, gave birth to her only child in , and survived breast cancer. Her vocal talent had been recognized when she was a child, and she began singing professionally in the s, with the Cuban Brothers, the Manhattan Brothers , and an all-woman group, the Skylarks , performing a mixture of jazz, traditional African melodies, and Western popular music. In , Makeba had a brief role in the anti-apartheid film Come Back, Africa , which brought her international attention, and led to her performing in Venice, London, and New York City.