Miriam Makeba was a South African singer and civil rights activist. The Grammy Award winning artist is often referred to as 'Mama Afrika'. Her professional career began in the 1950s with The Manhattan Brothers before she formed her own group, The Skylarks, singing a blend of jazz and traditional melodies of South Africa. In 1959, she performed in the musical King Kong alongside Hugh Masekela, her future husband. In 1963, after testifying against apartheid before the United Nations, her South African citizenship and her right to return to the country were revoked. She had nine passports and was granted honorary citizenship of ten countries.
Makeba went into exile and, in the latter days of apartheid, she was always to be found with those who fought against crimes against humanity.
She was honoured by countries as far afield as Cuba, Guinea and France, as well as by the United Nations, which appointed her as a peace envoy. Makeba died in 2008.