Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba performs on stage on January 17, 2008, at Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jordi Vidal/Redferns)

Ten years after music legend Miriam Makeba’s death, family and friends are fondly remembering her lasting legacy.

Makeba, affectionately known as “Mama Africa,” died of a heart attack during a concert in Italy in 2008.

Her granddaughter Zenzi Makeba said that it had been a tough decade without her greatest support system, Johannesburg-based The Star reported Nov. 9.

“I lost my mother, her only child, just before I turned 13 and so my grandmother raised me. There are so many memories she left me with but the one thing I will take with me is how she taught me to love and respect myself, deal with things hands on and fight for justice,” Zenzi said. “Even though losing my mother was painful, I am honored to have had the privilege of being raised by grandma. I really miss and love her. It gets so much harder especially at this time of the year.”

Despite the pain, Zenzi is happy that her grandmother’s spirit still lives on.

“Mama represented the flame of unity and even though she is gone, I can feel her spirit and it continues to live on. Our family is lighting candles to pay respects to our legendary grandmother,” she added.

Longtime friend and legendary singer Dorothy Masuka: “I really miss Miriam a great deal. If there is anyone I miss the most in this world, it is my sister. I miss spending time with her and just being in her presence and doing things that sisters do.”

As part of commemorating her life, the Miriam Makeba Foundation will be screening the movie “Mama Africa” at universities in South Africa.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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