The Foreign Ministry will assist the family of Miriam Makeba to bring her remains home following her death in Italy on Sunday, a spokesman has said.
"The Foreign Affairs Ministry has begun the process of the repatriation of the mortal remains of South Africa's Goodwill Ambassador Miriam Makeba back to South Africa for a funeral service and cremation," said spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa yesterday.
"This follows consultations between the Foreign Ministry and the family of the late Miriam Makeba on Monday in which the family decided on the repatriation of the mortal remains back to South Africa before cremation."
The department will offer consular services to family members and will also help them with the documentation needed to bring the remains home by the end of the week.
Makeba, fondly known as Mama Africa, died of a heart attack after a performance in Italy on Sunday night. Makeba, whose most famous hits included Pata Pata, The Click Song (Qongqothwane in isiXhosa) and Malaika, died after taking part in a concert for Roberto Saviano, a writer threatened with death by the Mafia. Many high-profile politicians paid tribute to her, especially for her contribution in the struggle against apartheid and for placing it on the global agenda.
Singer Thandiswa Mazwai went to pay her last respects at Makeba's home yesterday.
The Human Sciences Research Council added its voice to the tributes yesterday in a statement, saying she left many legacies.
"Makeba leaves a legacy of timeless and elegant performances on stage in highly-acclaimed epic shows such as King Kongand Graceland to name a few." - Sapa