Miriam Makeba (born 1932)
Born in South Africa and resident during her life in Guinea and the USA, jazz diva Makeba has irrevocably changed the landscape of both modern music and politics.
Leaving South Africa for New York in 1959, Makeba became the first African artist to gain recognition by Western audiences; her work with Harry Belafonte, suffused with both American jazz and South African mbube, effectively kick-started the ‘world music’ genre.
Makeba’s testimony before the United Nations in 1963 was the first exposure of the abject oppression of apartheid to the West; in response the South African government formally exiled her for over two decades. Nonetheless, she inspired many South Africans to speak out against apartheid.