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9 passports, no pass: The lives of Miriam Makeba

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Miriam Makeba back stage at The Olympia in Paris, France, 1967 (Photo: Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images)
Miriam Makeba back stage at The Olympia in Paris, France, 1967 (Photo: Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images)

According to Dr Vincenza Di Saia, a physician at the Pineta Grande private clinic near Naples, Italy, Miriam Makeba collapsed as she was leaving a stage where she had been performing in a benefit concert. The concert was held for Roberto Saviano, a writer who had been on the receiving end of numerous death threats after writing about organised crime. The details are unclear. Makeba collapsed in the wings after stumbling off stage, mid-song. She collapsed on stage after singing Pata Pata, her hand clutching her heart, clutching home. She was still alive in the ambulance. She was still alive in the hospital. Time of death is listed as midnight. Cause of death: cardiac arrest. 

In a 1988 interview with Roger Steffens, when asked about her calling, the interlocutor (perhaps in playful facetiousness) asks whether she can see into the future. 

Miriam Makeba: "I try to see the future. I may be wrong, but I try. And for me, the future is, it has to be, that I will return home. My people will be free and we shall live like human beings, like all other people in the world. Because if I ever stop thinking that way, or looking into the future that way, then it would be very detrimental to me. I may just lay down and die." 

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