Short Info

DiedNovember 9, 2008, Castel Volturno, Italy
SpouseStokely Carmichael, Hugh Masekela, Sonny Pilay, Pata Pata, Malaika, The Click Song
FactMother of Sal Masekela.

Miriam Makeba was born on March 4, 1932, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her mother, Christina Makeba, was a Swazi Sangoma (traditional healer), and her father, Timoth Makeba, was a Xhosa farmer. She had five siblings.

Makeba began singing as a child, and by the age of 18, she had joined the Manhattan Brothers, a popular South African vocal group. She toured Europe and Africa with the group before moving to New York City in 1959.

In 1960, Makeba married musician Hugh Masekela. The couple had a daughter, Bongi, but divorced after four years.

Makeba’s career took off in the United States after she appeared in the film “Come Back, Africa” (1959). She went on to release several successful albums, including “The World of Miriam Makeba” (1960) and “Miriam Makeba” (1961). She also starred in the films “Buck and the Preacher” (1972) and “Sarafina!” (1992).

Makeba was an outspoken critic of the South African government’s policies of apartheid. In 1963, she was denied re-entry into South Africa after performing at a concert in support of the country’s anti-apartheid movement. She remained in exile for the next 30 years.

In 1964, Makeba married Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael. The couple moved to Guinea, where Carmichael was given a position in the government. They divorced in 1978.

Makeba returned to South Africa in 1990, after the country’s apartheid laws were repealed. She continued to perform and record until her death in 2008.

Makeba was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987 and the National Medal of Arts in 1999. She was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for her album “An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba” (1965).

Makeba had an estimated net worth of $1 million at the time of her death.

General Info

Full NameMiriam Makeba
DiedNovember 9, 2008, Castel Volturno, Italy
ProfessionActor, Singer-songwriter, Film Score Composer, Pata Pata, Malaika, The Click Song
NationalitySouth African


SpouseStokely Carmichael, Hugh Masekela, Sonny Pilay, Pata Pata, Malaika, The Click Song
ChildrenBongi Makeba
ParentsCaswell Makeba, Christina Makeba, Pata Pata, Malaika, The Click Song


AwardsGrammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording, Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold, Polar Music Prize for Popular Music, Pata Pata, Malaika, The Click Song
NominationsGrammy Award for Best New Artist, Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Pata Pata, Malaika, The Click Song
MoviesPaul Simon and Friends, Sarafina!, Have You Seen Drum Recently?, Amok

Social profile links


1Mother of Sal Masekela.
2She was a UN representative for Guinea, for which she was presented with the Dag Hammarskjöld Peace Prize in 1986.
3A Johannesburg club singer who became an important voice for the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, she paid a high price for her activism. While she was out of the country, the government revoked her passport, so she could not attend her mother's funeral.
4First African woman to win a Grammy.
5American-born (with one Jamaican parent) folk singer/activist. Harry Belafonte first saw her in the independent film Come Back, Africa (1959) and arranged for both her U.S. concert debut and a recording contract with RCA Victor. An album they recorded together, "An Evening with Belefonte/Makeba" (RCA Victor: 1965), went on to win a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Recording. Other U.S. albums, on RCA and Reprise, include "Miriam Makeba," "The Voice of Africa," "In Concert at Philharmonic Hall," and "Pata Pata." She was married to musician Hugh Masekela and activist Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture).
6Her real name, as she clarifies in the 29 February 1960 issue of Time magazine is: Zensile Makeba Qgwashu Nguvama Yiketheli Nxgowa Bantana Balomzi Xa Ufnu Ubajabulisa Ubaphekeli Mbiza Yotshwala Sithi Xa Saku Qgiba Ukutja Sithathe Izitsha Sizi Khabe Singama Lawu Singama Qgwashu Singama Nqamla Nqgithi. "The reason for its length, " Ms. Makeba writes, "is that every child takes the first name of all his male ancestors. Often following the first name is a descriptive word or two, telling about the character of ther person, making a true African name somewhat like a story." (Letter reprinted in the 9 March 1998 issue of Time.)




Half of a Yellow Sun2013performer: "Naughty Little Flea"
Aya of Yop City2013performer: "L'enfant et la gazelle"
Independent Lens2012TV Series documentary performer - 1 episode
Mama Africa2011Documentary performer: "Soweto Blues", "Qogothwane The Click Song", "Pata Pata"
Sing Your Song2011Documentary performer: "Into Yam", "Love Tastes Like Strawberries", "Malayisha", "Nongoongod To Those We Love" / writer: "Into Yam", "Malayisha", "Nongoongod To Those We Love"
Soul Power2008Documentary performer: "The Click Song"
The Deal2008/Iperformer: "Pata Pata" / writer: "Pata Pata"
Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten2007Documentary performer: "Pata Pata"
Bobby2006performer: "Pata Pata" / writer: "Pata Pata"
Transamerica2005performer: "Jol'inkomo"
Veronica Mars2004TV Series 1 episode
Otto - Der Katastrofenfilm2000lyrics: "Dummasack" / music: "Dummasack"
Tohuwabohu1997-1998TV Series performer - 2 episodes
When We Were Kings1996Documentary performer: "Am Am Pondo" / writer: "Am Am Pondo"
Sarafina!1992performer: "Thank You Mama"
A Warm December1973lyrics: "NONQONQO" / music: "NONQONQO"


Have You Seen Drum Recently?1989
Amok1983Joséphine Sempala


Mama Africa2011Documentary

Music Department

Help2009/IShort musician: vocals


Mama Africa2011Documentary in memory of


Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony2002DocumentaryHerself
Sacred Sounds2000DocumentaryHerself
When We Were Kings1996DocumentaryHerself
African Footsteps1995TV Series documentaryHerself - Interviewee
Children of Africa1993TV SpecialHerself
American Masters1993TV Series documentaryHerself
The Cosby Show1991TV SeriesHerself
Voices of Sarafina!1988DocumentaryHerself
Freedomfest: Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Celebratation1988TV Special documentaryHerself
Ebony/Jet Showcase1988TV SeriesHerself
Paul Simon, Graceland: The African Concert1987TV Movie documentaryHerself
Àngel Casas Show1984TV SeriesHerself
Numéro 11979TV SeriesHerself
The Mike Douglas Show1970TV SeriesHerself
The David Frost Show1969-1970TV SeriesHerself
Festival panafricain d'Alger1969DocumentaryHerself
Miriam Makeba: We Will Win1969TV MovieHerself
The Joey Bishop Show1968TV SeriesHerself
The Woody Woodbury Show1968TV SeriesHerself
The Ed Sullivan Show1962-1967TV SeriesSinger / Herself - Singer / Folk Singer
International Cabaret1967TV SeriesHerself
The Hollywood Palace1964-1965TV SeriesHerself / Herself - Singer
The Garry Moore Show1964TV SeriesHerself
Today1960-1963TV SeriesHerself
Look Up and Live1961TV SeriesHerself
The Steve Allen Plymouth Show1959TV SeriesHerself - Singer
Come Back, Africa1959DocumentaryMiriam

Archive Footage

Livicated2015Documentary post-productionHerself
Mama Africa2011DocumentaryHerself
Sing Your Song2011DocumentaryHerself (uncredited)
Soul Power2008DocumentaryHerself
La imagen de tu vida2006TV SeriesHerself


Won Awards

2001Taormina Arte AwardTaormina International Film Festival

Nominated Awards

1961GrammyGrammy AwardsBest New Artist

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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