Views from the Edge

Like Nelson Mandella, like Desmond Tut, like Martin Luther King, Jr., like Sojourner Truth…there is only one Miriam Makeba.

“Mama Africa” won a Grammy Award for “the Click song” (a Xhosa wedding song), so unique to western ears, that made her famous in the United States. But in South Africa she was more than a performer. She was a Civil Rights activist, a national hero, who paid a high price in the movement to end Apartheid and bring majority rule to her South African homeland. Her passport was cancelled. Her music was banned from being played or bought in South Africa. She was in exile for 30 years. There is nothing more dangerous than a human voice, and the South African regime knew it. Like Pete Seeger, whose “God’s Countin’ on Me” was posted here yesterday, Miriam was a voice of hope in the struggle for racial justice all over…

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