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“Mama Africa” Miriam Makeba Biopic in the Pipeline

“Mama Africa” Miriam Makeba left us eight years ago this month and with her passing, the world lost one of its most poignant voices in South Africa’s transformation from apartheid to the presidency of Nelson Mandela.

The singers life and legacy is now finally being turned into a feature film by Suzanne de Passe (who is also wrote the script to the Billie Holiday film Lady Sings The Blues in 1972), along with her longtime business partner, Madison Jones nd Madison Jones of de Passe Jones Entertainment. Also part of the producing cast is Broadway producer Willette Klausner, music producer David Franco and Makeba’s former publicist and confidant Marc Le Chat.

Le Chat is no stranger to Makeba as the two first met Makeba after Le Chat attended and covered her performance with Paul Simon on his Graceland concert in Zimbabwe in the late 1980s. After her return to the country in 1990, he became her publicist and confidant for the next 15 years.

This is however not the first time the singer, activist and icon’s life is being brought to the big screen. In 2011, a documentary titled Mika Kaurismäki’s Mama Africa was produced but the world obvisouly needed something more to honour the , the film community has yet to pay proper tribute to Makeba with a umber of news outlets reporting today that the Miriam Makeba biopic we’ve all been waiting for is officially in the pipeline.

Recording and performing songs in English, Portuguese, Hebrew and Swahili, Makeba was Africa’s first Grammy winner, and worked with the likes of Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone, Odetta, Hugh Masekela and Paul Simon. Makeba had her passport revoked by the South African government in 1960 as well as her citizenship in 1963 for her vocal opposition of apartheid. She didn’t return to South Africa until 1990 and later died in 2008 at the age of 76.

The movie will be developed in collaboration with the Miriam Makeba Estate, Miriam Makeba Foundation and Mama Africa Cultural & Social Trust and remains currently untitled.

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