RIP Miriam Makeba


Even her name was music.


Even though she didn’t consider herself a political singer, sometimes an artist can make more of an impact than a politician. Quite a life.

She was a class act.

"Our colonizers call it The Click Song"

I grew up with her records being played around the house. A sad day but a life to celebrate.

Oh MAN!! - after Mandela himself, and maybe Tutu, it’s hard to think of a more iconic South African :frowning:

On the celebration side it ought to be one hell of a funeral parade. Will it be in Jo’burg?

Two memories:

My parents playing their recording of King Kong over and over.

Her performance on the Rumble in the Jungle documentary When We Were Kings when she seems to summon up the very spirit of Mother Africa - scarily beautiful.
I never got to see her live.

Wikipedia is updated already - these intarwebs is fast!!

I imagine that the funeral will be upcountry - that’s where she was born.


I know it’s shallow, but I can’t help but wonder what Madam & Eve are going to do. I check in on them from time to time; I’ll be looking in again for a while.

I shall do a round of Pata Pata in her honor.

Performing until the very end. Wow, what a legend.

She brought more attention to apartheid by being exiled and not allowed back into South Africa than she would have if they’d kept her from leaving the country in the first place. Thank you stupid and short-sighted bureaucrats!

Thank you for the music Miriam. You were one of a kind.

Me, too. She sang at a concert that Harry Belafonte held at Carnegie Hall and did the “Click Song”. It was made into an album that my mother, a rabid Belafonte fan, owned, and would play constantly, to the point that I memorized all the songs involuntarily.

We had a missionary from South Africa stay with us for a couple of weeks. He spoke Xhosa (or whatever the language of the “Click Song” was). My mother, in all innocence, played the song and asked him to translate.

I never saw a black man turn white before. Apparently the lyrics are not what a missionary in the '60s would care to describe to the naive, middle-aged white American housewife who is his hostess.

A-hihi ha mama, hi-a-ma sat si pata pata…

“Pata Pata” is the name of a dance … we do down Johannesburg way.
And everybody … starts to move … as soon as “Pata Pata” starts to play - hoo …


On either the Belafonte recording or at the NY concert, Miss Makeba did say that it was a wedding song – apparently sung by the village women to the bride. It never struck me that it might be a bit, shall we say, earthy until I read the above.

She was a tremendous entertainer and a strong voice against apartheid. A strong woman and a good cause. A generation is passing. Pray that we do not forget them and all they did.

Makeba mentions this on the Belafonte album. I gather from the circumlocutions employed by our guest that it is a description of the events of the wedding night.

Any Doper care to confirm or deny? I did some Googling, but I cannot either confirm or deny.

I just had to buy that MP3 today. Amazing song. Amazing woman.

:frowning: :frowning: :frowning:

The lyrics of the Click Song (sorry for sounding like a colonizer!) are pretty benign, but also obscure. There are various translations that I can find, all variations on a theme. Wikipedia, for example, has:

The diviner of the roadways is said to be the knock-knock beetle
It has passed up the steep hill, the knock-knock beetle

These are the only two lines. If it’s rude, then it’s pretty metaphorical!

Pata Pata, on the other hand, is fairly raunchy. Of course it’s ostensibly about a dance, but we all know what she’s really talking about:

I want you to bend your back and then I bend my knees.
We do the pata pata we just rock it steady
we glue on together like the bee’s to honey

Unfortunately Pata Pata doesn’t seem to appear on any Belafonte / Makeba album that I can find.

There’s nothing rude about Qongqothwane. It really is about a beetle (probably a darkling beetle).

I’m not a fan of Makeba’s style of music, but it’s still a sad day for SA & world music.

Why is it a wedding song?

Completely different translation given for the Click Song at this Zambian site.