Looks Like Me But Isn't

Looks Like Me But Isn't

Monday, November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba 1932 - 2008

If you never heard of her, then here is a brief introduction. She was a South African woman, famous as much for singing as for her uncompromising stand against the apartheid system of her own country as well as the injustices all over the world. Because of she spoke out publicly against apartheid she was exiled from South Africa for more than 30 years. She did finally go back home when Nelson Mandela became president and invited her back. Here are some quotes of hers from over the years and this blog ends with a text from Nelson Mandela. Be sure to check out her music as well.

Everybody now admits that apartheid was wrong, and all I did was tell the people who wanted to know where I come from how we lived in South Africa. I just told the world the truth. And if my truth then becomes political, I can't do anything about that.

People in the United States still have a 'Tarzan' movie view of Africa. That's because in the movies all you see are jungles and animals . . . We [too] watch television and listen to the radio and go to dances and fall in love

In every community, in every nation, people are doing little and big things to help make a better world. Think of what has been accomplished to date: space exploration; satellite communications; heart transplants. Today, we have managed to do what previous generations never dreamed of. But, you see, today, around the world, 820 million people still don't have enough to eat. And it doesn't have to be this way.

And why is our music called world music? I think people are being polite. What they want to say is that it's third world music. Like they use to call us under developed countries, now it has changed to developing countries, it's much more polite.

You know, and then you expose your people to other cultures and other people's music. You see, that's why, people need to be exposed to different types of music and that is how you learn to appreciate other people. Through their music, through their art, and so on and so forth.

The text of Nelson Mandela's statement paying tribute to South African singing legend Miriam Makeba, who has died aged 76:

The sudden passing of our beloved Miriam has saddened us and our nation.

For many decades, starting in the years before we went to prison, MaMiriam featured prominently in our lives and we enjoyed her moving performances at home.

Despite her tremendous sacrifice and the pain she felt to leave behind her beloved family and her country when she went into exile, she continued to make us proud as she used her worldwide fame to focus attention on the abomination of apartheid.

Her haunting melodies gave voice to the pain of exile and disclocation which she felt for 31 long years.

At the same time, her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us.

Even after she returned home she continued to use her name to make a difference by mentoring musicians and supporting struggling young women.

One of her more recent projects was to highlight the plight of victims of land mines.

She was South Africa's first lady of song and so richly deserved the title of Mama Afrika.

She was a mother to our struggle and to the young nation of ours. It was fitting that her last moments were spent on a stage, enriching the hearts and lives of others - and again in support of a good cause.

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