The Birth of "Mama Africa"
On this date in 1932 Zenzile Miriam Makeba was born in Prospect Township, Johannesburg, South Africa. Her and her music were very instrumental in the anti-apartheid struggle. She was more proud of what she did as a civil rights activist then as a Grammy award winning artist. Because of all her anti-apartheid work her South African passport was revoked and she was not able to return there in 1960 for her mother's funeral. In 1963, after testifying against apartheid before the United Nations, her South African citizenship and her right to return to the country were revoked as well. She has had nine passports, and was granted honorary citizenship of ten countries. Her marriage to Stokely Carmichael in 1968 caused controversy in the United States, and her record deals and tours were cancelled. The entertainment industry virtually blacklisted Makeba. According to one account, her record company never called her in to record again after the marriage. She and Carmichael eventually moved to Guinea in West Africa. She did not return to her homeland until 1990 after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, over 30 year from her departure.