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Scene from MAMA AFRICA (photo courtesy of Starhaus Filmproduktion)

Mika Kaurismäki’s documentary about world-famous South African singer Miriam Makeba, who spent half a century traveling the world spreading her political message to fight racism, poverty and promote justice and peace, is a tribute to a woman who embodied the hopes and the voice of Africa. Miriam Makeba (1932-2008) was an inspiration to musicians all over the world and a delight for international audiences. Forced into early exile in 1959 as a result of her involvement in the documentary indictment of Apartheid COME BACK, AFRICA, Harry Belafonte helped her to gain entry to the USA where she scored her first international hit with Pata Pata. Finding herself in the sights of the FBI following her marriage to Black Panther activist Stokely Carmichael in 1968, she decided to settle in Guinea where she continued to fight the white Apartheid regime in her native land. Making use of rare documentary footage and a plethora of interviews, this film portrays the life of this exceptional artiste.
Genre Biopic
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2011
Director Mika Kaurismäki
Screenplay Mika Kaurismäki, Don Edkins
Cinematography Jacques Cheuiche, Wolfgang Held, Frank Peter Lehmann, Martina Radwan, Eran Tahor
Cast Miriam Makeba, Zenzi Monique Lee, Nelson Lumumba Lee, Hugh Masekela, Angelique Kidjo
Producer Rainer Kölmel
Co-Producers Don Edkins, Mika Kaurismäki, Hans Robert Eisenhauer
Production Company Starhaus Filmproduktion/Munich, in co-production with Millennium Films/Cape Town, Marianna Films/Helsinki, ZDF, ARTE
Runtime 90 min
Format HDCAM, color, b&w, 16:9
 English, French
Subtitled Versions English, German
Festivals Berlin 2011, Tribeca 2011, HotDocs 2011, Beldocs 2011, Sydney 2011, Edinburgh 2011, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2011, Jerusalem 2011, Ghent 2011, Vienna 2011, Golden Horse Taipei 2011, AFI Fest Los Angeles 2011, IDFA 2011, Tallinn Black Nights 2011, Istanbul 2012
Awards 2nd Place Panorama Audience Award Berlin 2011
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, The Finnish Film Foundation
German Distributor STUDIOCANAL/Berlin

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