Farewell to 'Mama Africa'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

South Africa has held a public memorial service for Miriam Makeba, one of Africa's best-known voices and a champion of the fight against apartheid. Makeba, 76, died after a concert in Italy last week.

About 2,000 people, including politicians, musicians and artists, paid their last respects to Makeba, known as "Mama Africa" and the "Empress of African Song". In the 1950s, she was the first black South African musician to gain international fame. "Though we shall never see her on stage again, she will live on in our hearts," said the country's Foreign Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Makeba's former husband, the trumpeter Hugh Masekela, played at the service.

Makeba spent 31 years in exile after speaking out against apartheid. She endured four divorces, leaving her abusive first husband after finding him in bed with her sister. She was also married to the black power activist Stokely Carmichael.