Be careful, think about the effect of what you say. Your words should be constructive, bring people together, not pull them apart.

— Miriam Makeba

The most helpful Miriam Makeba quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you

The conqueror writes history, they came, they conquered and they write.

You don't expect the people who came to invade us to tell the truth about us.


I kept my culture. I kept the music of my roots. Through my music I became this voice and image of Africa and the people without even realising.


Age is getting to know all the ways the world turns, so that if you cannot turn the world the way you want, you can at least get out of the way so you won't get run over.


There are three things I was born with in this world, and there are three things I will have until the day I die-hope, determination, and song.


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.


In the West the past is like a dead animal.

It is a carcass picked at by the flies that call themselves historians and biographers. But in my culture the past lives. My people feel this way in part because death does not separate us from our ancestors.


The tragedy of civil wars in countries like Angola and Mozambique is that they left many civilians maimed. Poverty is the reason HIV/AIDS spread so rapidly in the African townships and slums. Poverty is the real killer.


I have one thing in common with the emerging black nations of Africa: We both have voices, and we are discovering what we can do with them.


I look at an ant and I see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit.


African music, though very old, is always being rediscovered in the West.


People in the United States still have a 'Tarzan' movie view of Africa.

That's because in the movies all you see are jungles and animals . . . We [too] watch television and listen to the radio and go to dances and fall in love.


He [Belafonte] was a good teacher and looked after me.

He said, 'You have such great talent, you must try not to be a tornado - be like a submarine. It was good advice when I found myself speaking at the UN Committee Against Apartheid and then the UN General Assembly.


About Miriam Makeba

Quotes 35 sayings
Nationality South African
Profession Musician
Birthday October 16

I have to go and say farewell to all the countries that I have been to, if I can. I am 73 now, it is taxing on me.


Well there is a lot of work here for younger and older musicians now.

Our Ministry of Culture has now really embarked on changing things for artists, and it is getting much better. We just have to organize ourselves as artists, and then things will be better.


It was hard to be away from home, but I am glad that I am home now.


Age is wisdom if one has lived ones life properly.


[Belafonte]'d take me to perform for Martin Luther King's cause.

But when they were marching I did not take part, because I was not a citizen


I'm not a politician; I am a singer. Long ago, they said, 'That one, she sings politics.' I don't sing politics; I merely sing the truth.


my thoughts are like quick little fish that swim out of my grasp.


When I was young, I never bought records because my brother Joseph played saxophone and had a record player. I loved listening to his records: The Dorsey Brothers, Duke Ellington, all the big American jazz bands, and vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Ernestine Anderson, and Kitty White, a singer from the US who was a friend of Nina Simone. Nobody in America seems to know about her, but she was quite popular in South Africa.


If given a choice, I would have certainly selected to be what I am: one of the oppressed instead of one of the oppressors.


In those years, when I came to the States, people were always asking me why I didn't sing anymore. I'd tell them, 'I sing all around the world-Asia, Africa, Europe-but if you don't sing in the US, then you haven't really made it.' That's why I'll always be grateful to Paul Simon. He allowed me to bring my music back to my friends in this country.


I do not sing politics. I merely sing the truth.


It is very much the theme of our President, President Thabo Mbeki, whose passion is for Africa to work together, and for Africans to get up and do things for us. We are trying as women to do things for ourselves.


There are a lot of homes for boys, but very few for girls, that is why I chose to do for girls.


In the mind, in the heart, I was always home. I always imagined, really, going back home.


Africa has her mysteries, and even a wise man cannot understand them. But a wise man respects them


I didn't have much, but I was always happy to share what I did have.

It seemed like every African that came to New York City would show up at my apartment door at dinnertime, and I couldn't turn them away. I wasn't much older than any of them, but they started calling me 'Mama Africa' and the name stuck.


In New York I heard A Piece of Ground, written by a white South African, Jeremy Taylor. I modified it a little and sang it myself. That song is very special to me because it deals with the land question in southern Africa. We were dispossessed of our land.


Belafonte sent his people to pick me up and I went back and shook his hand, then went back to my little flat. I was very happy to have met a president of the United States - little me!


I look at a stream and I see myself: a native South African, flowing irresistibly over hard obstacles until they become smooth and, one day, disappear - flowing from an origin that has been forgotten toward an end that will never be.


I will probably die singing.


But if you are going to wear blinders then you do not know the world.


I look at the past and I see myself.