Let Mama Africa rest in peace

2009-11-07 13:20

THIS WEEKEND was supposed to be a joyous commemoration of the life of Miriam Makeba, one of the best musicians and humanitarians the world has ever seen. Timed to coincide with the first anniversary of her death, three events were planned in Pretoria – a free concert, a workshop for musicians and a corporate dinner.

None of these took place. Instead the past week has seen Makeba’s name being dragged in the mud as the bickering by the personalities behind the much-anticipated celebrations went as far as the courts.

None of the parties involved – the Department of Arts and Culture, the promoter and Makeba’s family – comes out smelling sweet.

As we report elsewhere in the paper, Makeba was trying to guard against just such shenanigans when she set up the ZM Makeba Trust to protect her name and image.

In her lifetime she had observed how, particularly after death, artists and other famous people were exploited. Yet the organisers thought they could organise these events without the Makeba Trust’s participation. For the department, in particular, this oversight is ­inexplicable.

The best thing now is for all involved to admit their culpability, however costly, so we can put this unsavoury episode behind us.

Our beloved Miriam Makeba deserves to rest in peace.


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