She received invitations to visit Europe and America, where she came to the attention of Harry Belafonte and Steve Allen and was capitulated to stardom. 1959 saw her becoming the first South African to win a Grammy award for the album 'An Evening with Harry Belafonte & Miriam Makeba'.
Miriam became an exile in 1960 when South Africa banned her from returning to her birth country - she was deemed to be too dangerous and revolutionary - this was after she had appeared in an anti-apartheid documentary, entitled "Come Back Africa", and this upset the then white apartheid government of South Africa. Miriam only returned to South Africa thirty years later.
She moved back to Africa, this time to Guinea where she was welcomed with open arms. Miriam continued to record songs and toured intensively. She was well respected by the government of Guinea and was asked to address the United Nations General Assembly as a Guinean delegate. She twice addressed the General Assembly, speaking out against the evils of apartheid.
"I see other black women imitate my style, which is no style at all, but just letting our hair be itself. They call it the Afro Look."
She has released over thirty albums over the years, and her powerful and distinctive voice retains the clarity and range that enable it to be both forceful as a protest march and as poignant as an African lullaby.
Miriam is MamaAfrica, a lady with a special touch. She has weathered many storms in her life, including several car accidents, a plane crash and even cancer. She remains as active in her latter years as she did as a young girl with stars in her eyes.
Her exceptional personal and artistic profile is part of the history of this century, all adding to the dramatic elements of an extraordinary life, making Miriam Makeba a living legend.