Miriam Makeba Research

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Miriam Makeba, known as Mama Africa, was a black South African civil rights activist and singer. She helped introduce African music around the world with her “Pata Pata” song in the late 1960s. She toured globally with famous singers and advocated for the end of apartheid in South Africa. ==Personal Life and Career Beginnings== Zenzile Miriam Makeba was born on March 4, 1932, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her father, Caswell, was a Xhosa and died when she was six. Her mother, Christina, worked as a Swazi sangoma, or a traditional herbalist and healer.Ewens, 2008 Authorities arrested Makeba’s mother 18 days after giving birth for selling umqombothi, a homemade beer of cornmeal and malt. Makeba spent the first 6 months of her life in prison with her mother. Nkrumah, 2001 She attended the Kilnerton Training Institute, a primary school in Pretoria, where she sang in the choir.Bordowitz, 2006 Makeba married a man named James Kubay and gave birth to their first child in 1950 named Bongi Makeba. She was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after giving birth which her mother treated unconventionally and successfully. Kubay left her and the newborn soon after.Despite her personal tribulations, Miriam Makeba’s singing career moved forward effortlessly. South African music felt the influence of ragtime and jazz from the United States and combined these with Christian hymnody to form a unique vocal style based in harmony called mbube. She first turned with the Cuban Brothers.
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