Tribute to Mama Africa empowers

2009-10-24 14:40

MUSIC legend Miriam Makeba will be remembered at a free concert at the Union Buildings in Tshwane next month.

Makeba, one of Africa’s greatest cultural icons, collapsed and died while performing at a concert in Italy on November 9 last year.

The legendary songstress and humanitarian touched many hearts at home and across the continent, and this is reflected in the line-up of artists to perform at the November 7 concert.

Billed to perform are Malian musician Salif Keita, Cameroon’s Manu Dibango and internationally acclaimed singer Angelique Kidjo.

They will be joined by an array of local talent including Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Busi Mhlongo, Abigail Kubheka, Judith Sephuma, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Malaika, Soul Brothers, Don Laka and Ntando.

Makeba died after suffering a heart-attack just after giving a special performance of her monster hit Pata Pata.

Show promoter Morris Roda says the first show will be free because “we are paying tribute, and you can not ask people to pay for celebrating ­Mama Miriam’s life”.

The Grammy-winning artist will be remembered at the November 7 concert and also at a “by ­invitation only” gala event at the State Theatre, Tshwane, on November 9.

On November 8 workshops to empower and develop artists will be held at the Doctor Miriam Makeba Hall in Unisa, Tshwane.

“We can’t have an event for the sake of an event, we want her legacy to assist the people,” says Roda. “And empowering artists would be something she would have loved to see happen.”

He adds: “The diverse line-up of Africa’s greatest musicians from across genres and musical styles is a reflection of the magnitude of the status of Mama Miriam. ­Development bands will also have the chance to celebrate her life and legacy.”

The National Heritage Council (NHC) and the department of arts and culture are behind the memorial project.

NHC CEO Sonwabile Mancotywa says: “We are always ­supportive of heritage projects and have been looking for something special to honour the late Miriam Makeba in a way which pays tribute to her ­music legacy.”


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