Afro-pop legend Miriam Makeba, also known as "Mama Africa," died on Sunday at the age of 76 in the south of Italy, following a concert appearance. This powerhouse songstress's long and varied life included marriage to Black Panther Stokely Carmichael, exile from her home country of South Africa, a starring role in the film Sarafina!, about the 1976 Soweto youth uprisings, and an appearance in the 2002 documentary Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony.
Over her lifetime Makeba made dozens of records and was responsible for bringing the issue of apartheid to the forefront in Western countries, though she always identified herself first as a singer, not as a political activist. In a condolence message, former South African president Nelson Mandela said "It was fitting that her last moments were spent on a stage, enriching the hearts and lives of others . . . "
To see how Makeba's stage presence and definitive look can translate to your home (as well as aid African women and charities),
As T Magazine noted, "From African headdresses and shoulder-padded caftans, to this very right-now dashiki minidress and go-go boots, Mama Africa’s 76-year-old heart may have given out as she was exiting a stage near Naples, Italy, last night, but her look — and the spirit that inspired it — keep on keeping on."
In honor of Makeba's vibrant voice and beautiful stage presence, I wanted to find some home items that reflected her rich persona as well as honored her homeland of Africa. Many of these products also directly benefit charities and artisans in Africa. You can take a look at the widget for some of these Makeba-inspired finds, or shop South African Fair Trade products here.