Mama Africa
2011
***½
Director: Mika Kaurismäki
Cast:

Miriam Makeba (1932-2008) made African music popular with the western audience from the 1960s onwards. The South Africa-born singer was also a passionate civil rights activist which led to a 30-year exile from her home country. Her extraordinary life was full of triumphs and hardship, both personal and professional, and this straightforward documentary presents them in chronological order and without frills. The film wears you out a bit towards the end as the concert clips keep interrupting the flow of the story with predictable regularity. Or if you’re only watching this for the music, you may think that too often Makeba’s life gets in the way of a good song.