Mama Africa


Zenzile Miriam Makeba was born in Johannesburg in 1932. Her mother was a Swazi sangoma (traditional healer-herbalist). Her father, who died when she was six years old, was a Xhosa. When she was eighteen days old, her mother was arrested for selling umqombothi, an African homemade beer distilled from malt and cornmeal. Her mother was sentenced to a six-month prison term, so Miriam spent her first six months of life in jail. As a child, she sang in the choir of the Kilmerton Training Institute’ in Pretoria, a primary school that she attended for eight years.

Her professional career began in the 1950s when she was featured in the South African jazz group the Manhattan Brothers, and appeared for the first time on a poster. She left the Manhattan Brothers to record with her all-woman group, The Skylarks, singing a blend of jazz and traditional melodies of South Africa. As early as 1956, she released the single for “Pata Pata”. The single was played on all the radio stations and made her known throughout all of South Africa. Though she was a successful recording artist, she was only receiving a few dollars for each recording session and no provisional royalties, and was keen to leave home.

One of the more haunting songs sh sang was a rendition of an ancient tribute song called Mbube! Contrary to what ignorant Yurugu like to try and educate us about our culture, Mbube is not a style of any song in SA. Mbube means Lion, and the song that Solomon Linda put on track was an instrumental version of what has been sung at the death of t’chhaka, because his force and his reign was compared to the one of a Lion…and many versions have risen, but the one by Salomon Linda was the first to be put on tape. With the conspiracy of Walt Disney and the recording industry, who stole the original arraignment, rhythm and words, and of course with not  having the honesty to say where they took it from, the tokens were tabbed as the “original” singers of a song called “the lions sleep tonight”. It’s only originality was that some Yurugu cats sang an ancient Zulu song in Americanish. The tokens or any non African interloper, are not will never be the creator of our African cultural expressions…. never..this is a south African song, a zulu song called mbube (lion)…it has been sung for centuries in south Africa and firstly recorded by linda solomon. The song is about about a lion sleeping but it is infact a much deeper message than waht people believe.  When a king dies it is said that he sleeps and when  t’chak died they sang it to tell the people that the lion is sleeping ..i yu m’bube =you are the lion...t’chaka you can’t die you certainly sleeping..Yurugu stole it and don’t have the honesty to say where they took it. This is why the family of the original brother fought for decades to not only get recognition. The recognition was granted eventually, but I am unsure of the royalties.

Mamma Afrika, herself a lioness continued to torment the Dutch Boer invaders and colonizers by drawing attention to the system of Apart-hate (ask any Azanian to sound that word out and you will overstand)

mama Afrika was about freeing all of  Southern Afrika and pulled different ethnic groups together, despite the invaders attempt to regionalize and seperate us by sub-ethnicity. Something like the have handedly done in the diaspora.

Travel well  Mamma Afrika

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