Mama Africa : How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song

Mama Africa! Book Cover Mama Africa!
Kathryn Erskine
Juvenile Nonfiction
Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
October 10, 2017

"Makeba, a Grammy-winning South African singer, rose to fame in the hearts of her people at the pinnacle of apartheid. This biography by the National Book Award-winning author of "Mockingbird" offers an intimate view of Makeba's fight for equality." Publisher

This book creatively articulates Miriam Makeba’s biography as a political activist through her voice as a musician. The author illustrates that Miriam expressed herself through her songs. She sang in church, and sang not only to entertain but also to expose injustices of apartheid South Africa to her fellow countrymen and the whole world. The book illustrations are ingenious and appealing to readers. Images are used to depict racial discrimination that explains the South African history during apartheid that denied blacks access to amenities. The main weakness is that Miriam Makeba is singled out from other musicians who were exiled from South Africa and performed abroad to expose the racist government and only returned home, like Miriam, after the late President Mandela was identified to lead the democratic government.


Reviewed by Fatima Mncube-Barnes, Ed.D, MPH, MSIS, MBA,  Louis Stokes Library, Howard University

Published in Africa Access Review (May 1, 2018)

Copyright 2018 Africa Access


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