The Fabulous Picture Show
Mama Africa
The voice of a continent - Miriam Makeba's story as a political activist and legendary performer.
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2011 11:04

Filmmaker Mika Kaurismäki joins Amanda Palmer, Al Jazeera's head of entertainment, on The Fabulous Picture Show's Q&A to discuss the music, activism and legacy of the inimitable Miriam "Zenzi" Makeba, whose singing career took her from the townships of South Africa to the biggest musical arenas in the world. It was a journey that moved her fans to name her "Mama Africa: the voice of a continent".


Forced into political exile for performing in an anti-apartheid film, young Miriam moved to New York where she was soon discovered by musical impresario Harry Belafonte.

He introduced the US to Makeba's stunning voice, and with hits such as Pata Pata and The Click Song, she skyrocketed to international success.

A vociferous opponent of South Africa's apartheid government, and the bride of Black Panther, Stokely Carmichael, Makeba would become known to the world as much for her political activism as for her captivating vocal talent.

Acclaimed director Mika Kaurismäki's film combines astounding archive footage from across five decades, and interviews with those closest to the legendary performer. 


When John Bunting moved to a deprived Adelaide suburb, he became a trusted voice in the community, sharing their loathing of the local paedophiles and low-lives.

Using his influence and charisma, Bunting managed to assemble a posse of friends who he would convince to go on a killing spree, the likes of which South Australia had never seen.

Justin Kurzel's harrowing drama draws on courtroom evidence and eye witness accounts to bring one of Australia's most infamous crime cases to the big screen: the brutal killing of 11 civilians, known as The Snowtown Murders.

The Artist

The Artist

Hollywood, 1927, and silent-film star George Valentin feels like he is king of the world.

Riding on a string of box office hits, and with beautiful starlet Peppy Millar on his arm, he does not realise that everything is about to be taken away from him as cinema enters the age of the 'talkies'.

As the Cannes International Film Festival welcomed its first 3D competition entry in 2011, one filmmaker decided to buck the trend and look backwards.

Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist is a black and white, no dialogue film, and it was one of the runaway successes of the festival.

This episode of The Fabulous Picture Show can be seen from Friday, August 19, at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.

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