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UKZN Staffer Delivers Vocal Tribute to Legendary Miriam Makeba

28 Jul, 2017

Ms Thulile Zama (centre) performs in a tribute concert to Miriam Makeba.
UKZN School of Arts staff member and vocalist Thulile Zama recently gave a tribute concert to legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM).

Makeba’s career influenced Zama to such an extent that she decided to do a musical tribute in honour of ‘Mama Africa’, as Makeba was affectionately known world wide.

Said Zama: ‘A singer and civil rights activist, Miriam Makeba passed away in 2008 as she walked off stage after giving a concert in Italy. Some called it a fitting end to a legend’s life. I grew up listening to her music, and it spoke to me. I decided that her music needed to be heard by young and old. It is insightful, and fun!’

Zama and her band chose songs from the different eras of Makeba’s illustrious career. 

Accompanying her on piano was David Smith who started his music career playing gospel at church, going on to study music in the early 2000s at UKZN where he met Zama and became a member of the successful jazz/hip hop band, Big Idea.

On bass was second year music student Sbusiso Mkonza, while the drummer was Rebekah Pillay, a musician with the South African army and a founding member of the all-female jazz band Heels Over Head.

Zama holds a BA (Music) degree from UKZN and is the lead vocalist of successful contemporary jazz band Heels Over Head.

Melissa Mungroo mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

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