Miriam Makeba

Con i suoi canti di gioia e dolore ha raccontato la condizione della popolazione nera in Sudafrica.

Miriam Makeba nasce il 4 marzo 1932 in un sobborgo di Johannesburg, ai tempi dell’apartheid. Figlia di una sacerdotessa del culto locale fin da bambina ha sperimentato sulla sua pelle tutte le sopraffazioni legati regime discriminatorio. Appartiene alla comunità Xhosa del Sudafrica ed è molto legata alle radici del suo popolo.

Nei primi anni 50 incontra Nelson Mandela, che all’epoca stava organizzando l'”African National Congress. La sua vita cambia radicalmente.

Tra i due nasce un legame d’amicizia intenso che ha portano Miriam ad appoggiare sempre le iniziative di Mandela.

Miriam Makeba lotta con la sua voce, le sue canzoni hanno fatto conoscere il dolore e la condizione di oppressione in cui viveva la popolazione nera. Diventa una star con i “Manhattan Brothers”, gruppo con il quale ha raggiunto una fama considerevole anche fuori dei confini del suo Paese.

Tuttavia la meschinità dell’uomo non ha mai fine e ed ha in serbo sempre sgradevoli sorprese. Per Miriam questo si traduce con l’esilio imposto dal governo di Pretoria dopo il suo primo tour negli Stati Uniti del ’60.  Resterà lontana dal suo paese per ben trent’anni, una sofferenza enorme per una persona così legata alla sua terra.

In America fortunatamente incontra Harry Belafonte, amico prezioso che la ha aiutata a diventare una stella. Tuttavia anche in America Miriam incontra serie difficoltà. Nel 1968 sposa Stokely Carmichael, un leader dei movimenti radicali Neri, e anche se non ci furono reazioni ufficiali, il suo soggiorno negli States diventò molto difficile. Progetti di dischi e concerti furono cancellati.

Tornò Africa e trovò nella Guinea una seconda patria che l’accolse a braccia aperte.

Come delegato di quello Stato prese parte anche a diverse missioni diplomatiche alle Nazioni Unite, dove più volte parlò contro la barbarie dell’apartheid.

Miriam Makeba grazie al suo impegno civile ha ricevuto premi dall’Unesco e da altre importanti organizzazioni. E’ stata ricevuta dai maggiori leader del mondo, da John Kennedy a Fidel Castro, da Francois Mitterrand all’Imperatore dell’Etiopia Haile’Selassie.

Nel 1990, finito l’esilio, è tornata nel suo paese. In Sudafrica ha ripreso a cantare e a impegnarsi in progetti umanitari fra i quali alcuni di tutela delle donne nere.

Muore per un attacco cardiaco nella notte tra il 9 e il 10 novembre 2008, appena terminata la sua ultima esibizione a Castel Volturno, nel casertano, ad un concerto anticamorra dedicato allo scrittore Roberto Saviano

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