The South African government has added its voice to the many condolences and tributes that are pouring in for the late Miriam Makeba (76), who passed away in Italy on Sunday.

“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,” Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said in a statement.

Ms Dlamini Zuma was informed about the untimely death of Ms Makeba who was commonly known as “Mama Africa” by South Africa’s Ambassador to Rome, Lenin Shope, on Monday.

The minister said “one of the greatest songstresses of our time has ceased to sing.

“Miriam Makeba, South Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador died performing what she did best – the ability to communicate a positive message through the art of singing.”

Mama Africa passed away at the Veneto Verde hospital near Naples, Italy, on Sunday after performing at the Castel Volturno.

While leaving the stage, Ms Makeba collapsed. She received paramedic assistance and was rushed to hospital, where she passed way.

According to the minister, it was befitting that after the dawn of democracy, government saw it fit to appoint her Goodwill Ambassador (Makeba) of South Africa through which she continued to communicate a positive message to the world about developments in the country.

“In this context, the Ministry Foreign Affairs will miss her invaluable contribution to efforts aimed at projecting a positive image of our country abroad.” – BuaNews