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Miriam Makeba was forced into a life of exile after starring in the 1959 documentary film Come Back Africa, which exposed the harsh realities of apartheid. She went on to sing for John F. Kennedy and Marlon Brando, perform with Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone and Dizzie Gillespie, and was married to Hugh Masekela and later the Black Panther Stokely Carmichael. Her life was tumultuous but always fascinating. She stood for truth and justice, fought for the oppressed and campaigned tirelessly against apartheid.
This documentary directed by Mika Kaurismäki traces her life and music through more than fifty years. Using rare footage of her performances, interviews and intimate scenes filmed over the years, this powerful documentary expertly exposes the biography of an icon. Friends and colleagues, together with her grandchildren Zenzi Monique Lee and Nelson Lumumba Lee, allow us to learn about the remarkable journey of Miriam Makeba, or "Mama Africa."