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[VIDEO] Miriam Makeba Speaks at U.N.

Mar. 9, 1964 - Miriam Makeba, a South African-born singer who believes racism is bringing disaster and tragedy to her country, offered today a “freedom song” to members of a United Nations committee.

She spoke, rather than sang, the words in a low and sometimes broken voice. The song was about freedom for Africans, and the main theme was an appeal to the world for an economic boycott against the Government of Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd: “You say you want to make me free — then don’t trade with the men who are killing me.”

Miss Makeba was invited back by the 11-nation Committee on Apartheid in South Africa — she first appeared at the U.N. in July — to give her testimony as a petitioner who had lived and worked in South Africa.

In July, she talked about her personal experiences, but this time she spoke of the African leaders jailed by the South African Government — and she recited the song’s words, written by Vanessa Redgrave, an English actress. Miss Makeba came upon them a few days ago and decided they best expressed her message.


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