Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Saturday, 15 November 2008

Hundreds bid farewell to Makeba

Advertisement

Musicians, poets and politicians paid tribute

Large crowds have flocked to a memorial service in Johannesburg for South African singer Miriam Makeba, who died last weekend after a concert in Italy.

Musicians, poets and politicians paid tribute to the 76-year-old performer.

Arts minister Pallo Jordan described Makeba as "a woman whose name became synonymous with the worldwide struggle for freedom in South Africa".

Her family also attended the service at the Coca Cola Dome concert venue, which followed two days of national mourning.

They are expected to hold a smaller service for her cremation on Sunday.

Miriam Makeba
Her music reverberated with consciousness about the real conditions of South Africans
President Kgalema Motlanthe
The singer, who was known as Mama Africa, spent more than 30 years in exile after lending her support to the campaign against apartheid.

Her memorial service drew hundreds of mourners, both black and white and of all ages.

South African trumpet player Hugh Masekela, once married to Makeba, performed a solo version of her song Welele to the accompaniment of soft clapping from the crowd.

Poet Maishe Maponya spoke of how her "lips touched our hearts with hymns of beauty" and how she had inspired her people with hope for the future.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki and current Deputy President Baleka Mbete were also present.

President Kgalema Motlanthe, in Washington for a G20 economic summit, paid tribute to Makeba in a video message.

Mourners at a memorial service for Miriam Makeba, 15 Nov
Mourners paid their respects to the singer known as Mama Africa

"Let us say it loud and clear. Miriam Makeba was not affectionately called Mama Africa for nothing," he said. "Her music reverberated with consciousness about the real conditions of South Africans."

Makeba was the first black singer to win a Grammy award, which she shared with Harry Belafonte in 1965.

She was one of Africa's best known singers, famed for hits such as Pata Pata and The Click Song.

Former president Nelson Mandela said she was the "mother of our struggle" and "South Africa's first lady of song".

Her body was flown home to South Africa on Wednesday; the country began a period of national mourning a day later.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Mandela's tribute to Makeba
10 Nov 08 |  Africa
Miriam Makeba: Your comments
10 Nov 08 |  Special Reports


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific