By Noxolo Zulu

Miriam Makeba died on this day 10 years ago

“I kept my culture. I kept the music of my roots. Through my music I became this voice and image of Africa without even realising it.”

Those were the words of an African princess who grew to be an African Queen and a history maker, Mariam Makeba who was given a nickname of ‘mama Africa’.

November 09 marks exactly a decade since she passed on but her footprints are to stay for eternity in the music industry, as young artists who looked up to her arise and continue the legacy of music with an ‘African beat’.

Makeba born on March 04 1932 and died on November 09 2008 after having a heart attach, after a short performance at a concert for Roberto Saviono near the Southern Italian town of Caserta.

Although she was born in Johannesburg South Africa, she spent most her life outside the country as she was the first black musician to leave the country on account of apartheid, because the then ruling government felt she was not only being disrespectful but was inciting violence through her music.

Being ‘kicked out’ of the country did not stop her doing what she loved and was good at, as she joined and collaborated with other musicians in other countries, and featured in documentaries and won herself a Grammy and many more awards local and international.

The late first Democratic president Dr Nelson Mandela presented her with the presidential Award.

She did not only inspire the aspiring musicians but the African women as a whole with her style and keeping it ‘African’ at all times, “I see other black women imitate my style which is not a style at all but letting our hair be itself. They call it Afro hair”

Mama Africa will forever be remembered.

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