Born as Zenzile Miriam Makeba, but known as Mama Africa, Makeba was a South African singer and actor that was among the first African musicians to receive worldwide recognition.
Mama Africa was a United Nations goodwill ambassador, as well as civil rights activists. She used her popularity to impact people in a good way. Her music genres included jazz, Afropop, and world music. She was an avid advocate against white-minority government and apartheid.
Mama Africa was the one that brought African music to the Western audience, an popularized the term Afropop.
Her career flourished in the United States where she released several albums and songs. Her most popular song was Pata Pata, released in 1967. For her 1966 album, she received a Grammy Award, one of the few Africans to do it.
In 1968, she married the leader of the Black Panther Party, which resulted in her losing support among white Americans and facing hostility from the US Government. She moved to Guinea, where she continued to perform, but mostly in African countries.
After the fall of apartheid in 1990, she moved back to South Africa. Makeba died in 2008 of heart attack during a concert in Italy.