The documentary “MAMA Africa: Miriam Makeba!,” directed by Mika Kaurismaki, is about South African-born Miriam Makeba. The film was produced in 2011 in English by a South African and Germany production team.

Makeba is one of the first African musicians who won international stardom and whose music was always anchored in her traditional South African roots. In 1959 she was forced into exile.

Her spirit rose above the cruelty of South African politics, and in the United States of America, she sang for John F. Kennedy, performed with Harry Belafonte and Nina Simone and was married to Hugh Masekela and also Stokely Carmichael. Imagine such accomplishments.

Makeba had a tumultuous life, a natural byproduct of standing up for truth and justice in such an unjust and corrupt country that was, or is, South Africa.

She fought for the oppressed, most importantly for Black Africans, as a campaigner against apartheid. She died November 2008 after a concert in Italy.

In Kaurismaki’s documentary, he traces 50 years of her music and her performing life. On screen, through rare archive footage of her performances and interviews with her contemporaries, we discover the remarkable journey that Makeba made.

Saturday, Jan. 20, two musicians who played in Makeba’s band for years will be on hand for Q&As: percussionist Leopoldo Fleming and bassist Bill Salter.

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