10
Nov
08

r.i.p. miriam makeba

Treating her listeners as one global community, Ms. Makeba sang in any language she chose, from her own Xhosa to the East African lingua franca Swahili to Portuguese to Yiddish. She also took sides: against South African apartheid and for a worldwide movement against racism, to the point of derailing her career when she married the black power advocate Stokely Carmichael in the late 1960s. (They were divorced in the mid-1970s.) Even during three decades of life as an exile and expatriate — the South African government revoked her passport in 1960 — she made it clear that South Africa was her home and her bedrock as an artist.

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