Mama Afrika has sung her last

Sad news – the South African singing great Miriam Makeba has died aged 76, following a benefit concert in southern Italy for the anti-mafia journalist and campaigner Roberto Saviano.

Makeba’s professional life was long and illustrious. I first heard her music in the 1980s, involved as I was then in left politics that included the anti-apartheid movement. It was through artists such as Makeba that many Europeans and Americans first came to experience modern African culture. The music and visual arts of the continent had a depth and soul that struck an immediate chord with young people in the west, and they went on to profoundly influence our own cultural development.

Farewell, Miriam!