And the music stopped pata pata
Pata Pata in Yoruba means completely, as in totally accomplished or it's finished. That was the song that the legendary singer Miriam Makeba was performing when she collapsed on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at a concert, and eventually died.
The song which actually means 'walk with me', was the number that thrust her into the limelight and brought her global fame in the 1960s.
Those that don't know her deeply would most likely remember her as a great singer. But to others, what the world had lost was beyond music and the associated glamour.
Somebody said that he admired Makeba's efforts to nurture talent and give back to the community.
It was even beyond that. Her life was a parcel of challenges and activism.
Nelson Mandela should know the first African woman to win a Grammy award (1966) better.
The former South African President described her as "South Africa's first lady of song… She richly deserved the title of Mama Afrika".
Makeba, 76, became an icon during the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa during the 1960s, her music gave a voice to those without one.
"Her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us. Even after she returned home, she continued to use her name to make a difference by minoring musicians and supporting struggling young women," Mr Mandela said.
Moreover, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, described Makeba as a nightingale whose death was a great loss to South Africa and the world.
“We will remember her thrilling voice singing Back of the Moon Boys in the musical King Kong.
“We must also remember how Harry Belafonte mentored her in the US, but it would have come to nothing had she not been endowed with that fantastic voice.”
An analyst said, it was perfectly in keeping with Makeba's sense of justice that her final stage would be in Castel Volturno in Naples, Italy, where the savage Camorra - the subject of Saviano's work - hold ultimate power, enmeshed in drugs, politics and fashion.
Although Makeba was declared to have died after a heart attack, apparently taking her last breath in the arms of her band leader grandson, Nelson Lumumba Lee, she effectively passed on in song, forever a symbol of the international fight for tolerance.
Born in Johannesburg in 1932 to a Swazi sangoma who worked as a domestic and a Xhosa father who died young, Makeba's voice captivated audiences even when she was a child.
In her 20s, as a sultry acolyte of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, she became the star turn for the defiant South African act The Manhattan Brothers and her own band The Skylarks.
Her songs inspired millions and evoked tears of both sadness and joy around the world, but South Africa‘s first lady of music, Miriam Zenzi Makeba, will be remembered most fondly by her fellow victims of apartheid.
Makeba, spent much of her life singing about Africa‘s struggles for independence.
Known as “Mama Afrika” and the “Empress of African Song”, Makeba was the first black South African musician to gain international fame, winning renown in the 1950s for her sweeping vocals. She was loathed by South Africa‘s apartheid leaders.
“People gave me that name (Mama Afrika),” Makeba said in 2005. “At first I said to myself: ‘Why do they want to give me that responsibility, carrying a whole continent?‘
“Then I understood that they did that affectionately. So I accepted. I am Mama Afrika.” The first black African woman to win a Grammy Award, Makeba spent 31 years in exile after speaking out against apartheid. One of her songs demanded the release of former president Nelson Mandela.
She returned home in 1990 at the request of Mandela.
Makeba also always stressed her African pride through her hairstyles and traditional clothes.
She came from humble beginnings in Johannesburg. Her mother was a Swazi sangoma and her father, who died when she was six, was a Xhosa.
As a child, Makeba sang at the Kilmerton Training Institute in Pretoria, which she attended for eight years.
As far back as she could remember, she had always wanted to be a singer. By the age of 13 she was entering talent shows and walking away with first prizes for her efforts.
She initially worked as a domestic servant and learnt new songs by listening to recordings of American jazz artists like Ella Fitzgerald. Mixing jazz with traditional African sounds, Makeba punctuated some songs with the clicks of her Xhosa language, creating classics such as The Click Song and Pata Pata.
Her professional career kicked off in the 1950s with the Manhattan Brothers, before she formed her own group, The Skylarks.
In 1959, she performed in the musical King Kong alongside Hugh Masekela who she married four years later.
Although she was a successful recording artist, she struggled financially, and was keen to go to the United States.
Her break came when she starred in the anti-apartheid documentary Come Back, Africa in 1959 and she attended the premier of the film at the Venice Film Festival.
After that, she went to London where she worked with Harry Belafonte, going on to win a Grammy Award for best folk recording in 1966 for the anti-apartheid album An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba.
Makeba, who was forced into exile, testified against apartheid before the UN in 1963.
While she won over millions on the stage, Makeba‘s personal life was marred by tragedy.
She is on record as saying that her first husband – who she was married to before she met Masekela – often beat her, and she left him after finding him in bed with her sister.
Her marriage to Trinidad civil rights activist and Black Panthers leader Stokely Carmichael in 1968 caused controversy in the US, and her record deals and tours were cancelled, forcing the couple to move to Guinea.
Makeba separated from Carmichael in 1973, and continued to perform primarily in Africa, South America and Europe. When her only daughter, Bongi Makeba, died in 1985, she moved to Brussels.
Upon her return to South Africa in 1990, she became involved in training promising young musicians.
In 1991, she made a guest appearance in an episode of The Cosby Show, entitled Olivia Comes Out Of The Closet.
In 1992 she starred in Mbongeni Ngema‘s film, Sarafina, about the 1976 Soweto youth uprisings, and she also featured in the 2002 documentary Amandla: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony, where she and others recalled the days of music during apartheid.
Asked in a recent interview who the next Makeba would be, she replied: “No, nobody can replace me as I can‘t replace anyone else,” adding she wanted to leave a memory of, simply, a “very good old lady”. And that was what she did.
The making of a legend
During her life, Miriam Makeba, who died at the age of 76, reached the heights of international success and fell into tragic lows many times.
"One minute I'm dining with presidents and emperors; the next I'm hitch-hiking," she told an interviewer in 2000.
The Johannesburg club singer became a voice for the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.
Despite saying many times that her songs were not political, she paid a high price for her activism.
The South African government revoked her passport, effectively sending her into exile for 31 years.
After her 1968 engagement to Stokely Carmichael in 1968, a leader of the radical Black Panthers, American record labels dropped her and her performance bookings were cancelled.
"I just told the world the truth, and if the truth then becomes political, I can't do anything about that," she told culture website Salon.com in 2000.
Her career was also blighted by poor financial management, which meant she had to keep performing no matter what else was happening in her life.
She said she couldn't cancel concerts - in 1998 she missed Mr Carmichael's funeral in Guinea because of her singing commitments.
She was born in 1932 in Johannesburg to a sangoma, or traditional healer.
Her father died when she was six.
Despite being a successful recording artist, she didn't receive any royalties from her records.
In her early career, she and her band were involved in a car crash and the police rescued only the white victims in the other car and left her and her band-mates on the road, where three of them died.
The only money was in touring Africa, playing jazz clubs from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to the Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo).
It wasn't until 1959 that she came to the world's notice.
She played a leading role in an all-black musical about South African boxing legend Ezekiel "King Kong" Dlamini.
"That was the only time my mother saw me on stage," she told friend and journalist Gamal Nkrumah in 2001.
Also in the cast was trumpet player Hugh Masakela, who would become her third husband years later when they were both in exile the US.
Her first spouse was a black South African policeman, who she divorced because of his violence. She also married another musician, Sonny Pillay, during her stay in England.
In the same year she starred in the anti-apartheid drama-documentary Come back, Africa, about the lives of migrant workers living in Johannesburg's townships.
It was filmed around the Johannesburg neighbourhood of Sophiatown, partly with secret cameras and partly under the pretence of being a film about street music.
The film was smuggled out of South Africa and shown at the Venice film festival, where she got permission to travel for the premiere.
From Venice she and Mr Masakela travelled to London.
It was there while singing on the BBC radio show In Town Tonight that Makeba met Harry Belafonte, who would open up the road to world stardom for her.
The US Years
She became a massive hit in the US. People packed her concerts and she performed with stars.
Her blend of African rhythms and jazz in songs like Pata Pata appealed to both conventional audiences and the trendy jazz crowd.
In 1962 she played at the US President John F Kennedy's legendary birthday party, where Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday.
But the South African government had hit back for her role in Come Back, Africa.
In 1960 she found they would not let her home to attend her mother's funeral.
"The man at the desk took my passport. He did not speak to me. He took a rubber stamp and slammed it down. Then he walked away. I picked up my passport. It was stamped 'Invalid'. 'They have done it,' I told myself. 'They have exiled me," she said in 2001.
She was shocked by the racial tensions she found in 1960s America, and called it "apartheid by another name".
But Harry Belafonte advised her to play a less confrontational role in the civil rights movement.
"He was a good teacher and looked after me," she told the Guardian earlier this year.
"He said: 'You have such great talent, you must try not to be a tornado - be like a submarine. It was good advice when I found myself speaking at the UN Committee Against Apartheid and then the UN General Assembly."
But her relationship with racial firebrand Stokely Carmichael ended her career in the US.
They moved to Guinea and were given a home by President Sekou Toure who paid her a salary to write and perform.
She also worked as a UN representative for Guinea for many years, for which she was given the Dag Hammarskjold peace prize in 1986.
By then, stricken by grief at the death of her only child Bongi in 1985, she had left Guinea and moved to Brussels. Her relationship with Mr Carmichael had ended in 1973.
In 1990 she returned to South Africa for the first time after Nelson Mandela asked her to come back.
In her increasing old age "Mama Africa" as she was known, began suffering from osteoarthritis and shortage of breath.
She began a "farewell tour" in 2005 before retiring, but it stretched out for three years more.
"Everybody keeps calling and saying: 'You have not come to say goodbye to us," she told an interviewer in May.
Makeba is survived by her grandchildren Nelson Lumumba Lee and Zenzi Monique Lee, and great grandchildren Lindelani, Ayanda and Kwame.
1932: Born Johannesburg, South Africa
1959: Stars in the jazz opera King Kong and anti-apartheid film Come Back, Africa, met Harry Belafonte
1962: Performs at President Kennedy's birthday party
1960: Barred from returning to South Africa
1963: Testifies against apartheid at the United Nations
1966: Becomes the first African woman to win a Grammy award
1968: Marries Black Panther Stokely Carmichael and moves to Guinea
1974: Performs as the warm-up for Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Mohammed Ali and George Foreman
1985: Moves to Brussels after death of her daughter
1990: Returns to South Africa after personal request from Nelson Mandela
2005: Begins a "farewell tour" of the world that lasts three years
2008: Dies in Caserta, Italy following a concert, aged 76
In the 1950s she sang with township jazz bands but didn't make much money from playing clubs and bars. ...more