Posted by: drjamm | November 12, 2008

Miriam Makeba

baxabene oxamu
bexabene ngengxongxo
bexakwe yinxu baxaka

qyike legqitha igqele laqinge qhude ni
beliqhatha baba geqotho leqhude

miriammakebaMiriam Makeba, the Empress of African Song, died this week doing what she loved — singing her heart out! When I first heard Miriam’s inspirational voice I was riveted. I played her African songs again and again. I remember clearly when I was learning to ski and take more (reasonable) risks in my “skiing stride,” I found the uplifting and spiritually strengthening sounds, harmonies, and rhythms of “Baxabene Oxamu” fill my head and ease my nerves. The calming and strengthening effect on my skiing was instantaneous. How could this song, with its lyrics that are completely incomprehensible to me, be so powerfully helpful to me? Miriam explains in her CD liner notes that African parents sing Baxabene Oxamu to their children to teach them the nuances of the traditional African tongue clicks. Even now, many years later, I sometimes find that this magical nursery song fills my head when I need steadying and focus in my efforts. It is a wonder that Miriam Makeba can be inspirational even when singing a nursery song!

Miriam Makeba had so many noble traits that it is hard to list them all. Above all, however, she was loyal to the people of South Africa throughout her exile from her beloved homeland. Dr. Makeba never stopped protesting that country’s policy of apartheid. When Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, Miriam Makeba was welcomed back to her home country. Today the South African government has announced a national day of mourning as a way to show its respect for the vast achievements of the amazing Miram Makeba.

I am sad today to know that such an Inspirational, Loyal, and Spiritual Being has left us. May much Light and Comfort surround Miriam’s family, friends, and country women and men as they mourn her passing.

Credits and links: The above photo can be found at AFRO (AFROAmerican newspaper): http://www.afro.com/tabid/456/itemid/2068/Miriam-Makeba-Mama-Africa-Dies.aspx

You can listen to Miriam Makeba singing “Baxabene Oxamu” on her album called Sanoma, or on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZAhSG1mvI4

(bright heart singing, copyright 2008 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.) http://brightheartsinging.wordpress.com

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