Mama Africa (2018)

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Miriam Makeba was the first South African musician to become an international star; singing in several African dialects as well as English, Makeba was a gifted singer and a charismatic performer whose nightclub and concert engagements made her a global sensation in the 1950s. However, Makeba's determination to speak out against South Africa's apartheid regime forced her to leave her homeland, and she relocated to New York City in 1959. Makeba stayed busy as a performer and activist, and she was championed by friend and confidante Harry Belafonte, but when she married Stokely Carmichael, one of the outspoken leaders of the Black Panther Party, in 1968, her career in America slowed to a standstill, and in time Makeba and Carmichael settled in Guinea, where they were welcomed warmly. Makeba continued to speak out for South African freedom, and when apartheid was revoked and Nelson Mandela became South Africa's president, Makeba returned home, where she became a mentor to a new generation of artists and singers. Filmmaker Mika Kaurismaki celebrates the life and music of Miriam Makeba in the documentary Mama Africa, which combines archival material with interviews featuring Makeba's friends and colleagues, including Hugh Masekela and Angelique Kidjo. Mama Africa was an official selection at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Mama Africa

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

A portrait of a woman ... whose dynamic range and earth-wide smile made the words and sounds pouring from her like a hand extended, a heart exposed, a story of the world made achingly real.

Feb 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Like many biographical documentaries, it resembles a lengthy highlight reel of crucial events from its subject's life, without much in the way of style or perspective.

Jan 18, 2018 | Full Review…

This queen deserves a monarch-sized portrait that fully showcases her part in the tumultuous social, political, and cultural movements that reshaped the world around her.

Jan 17, 2018 | Full Review…

A fitting tribute to a rare talent who dedicated her life to the liberation of oppressed people all over the world.

Jan 22, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Mama Africa, an intriguing but incomplete documentary portrait of Miriam Makeba, succeeds as a glowing introduction to her life and music.

Jan 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Mama Africa shows how Miriam Makeba was the antithesis of a diva. Right up until her death in 2008, she was a woman who cared too damn much.

Oct 12, 2017 | Full Review…

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