South African singer Miriam Makeba, “one of the greatest songstresses of our time”, died on Sunday night after collapsing as she left the stage following a performance in Italy, the foreign minister said on Monday.
“One of the greatest songstresses of our time, Miriam Makeba, has ceased to sing. Miriam Makeba, South Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador died performing what she did best – an ability to communicate a positive message through the art of singing,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
“Throughout her life, Mama Makeba communicated a positive message to the world about the struggle of the people of South Africa and the certainty of victory over the dark forces of apartheid colonialism through the art of song.”
The foreign ministry said the 76-year-old Makeba died at the Veneto Verde hospital near Naples after performing at the Castel Volturno.
“She collapsed as she was leaving the stage. She received paramedic assistance and was rushed to hospital where she unfortunately passed away,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“On behalf of our President Kgalema Motlanthe, our ambassadors and high commissioners stationed abroad, management and staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs, we convey our heartfelt condolences to members of the bereaved family,” said Dlamini-Zuma.