Miriam Makeba

South African singer and civil rights activist

Zenzi Miriam Makeba (March 4, 1932 - November 9, 2008) was a South African singer, and she was against racial segregation.[1][2]

Early lifeEdit

Makeba was born in a town near Johannesburg, South Africa on March 4, 1932. Her town was segregated. Makeba started to sing in her school/church choir. She found comfort in singing and music.[1][2]

Middle LifeEdit

Makeba started singing professionally in 1950. She first sang with her cousin's group. They were called the Cuban Brothers. She was also in two other groups called the Manhattan Brothers and the Skylarks. Makeba was in movies and musicals as well. She was in the musical King Kong in 1959, the movie Come Back, Africa, and she recorded music with Harry Belafonte.[1][2]

Come Back, Africa criticized segregation in South Africa. They banned her from South Africa. Harry Belafonte helped Makeba come to the United States of America. They became friends and made an album together. The album was called “An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba.” They won a Grammy award in 1966 for that album.[1][2]

Late LifeEdit

Makeba married a jazz trumpet player named Hugh Masekela in 1964. Makeba divorced him in 1966. She then married Stokely Carmichael in 1968. He was a Civil Rights leader. She divorced him in 1978. Makeba came back to South Africa in 1990. The government started removing laws that made South Africa segregated. Makeba then died on November 9th 2008.[1][2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Mckeen, William. “Makeba, Miriam” World Book Student. World Book, 2018. World Book. Accessed 4 May 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 “Miriam Makeba.” Gale Student Resources in Context. UXL Biographies, 2011. Gale Student Resources in Context Accessed May 4 2018.