Thousands expected at service for Makeba

Edward Tsumele and Gugu Sibiya

Edward Tsumele and Gugu Sibiya

A mammoth memorial service to honour South African songbird Miriam Makeba is scheduled for tomorrow.

Family members yesterday said that the service, which will be open to the public, will be held at the Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate, north of Johannesburg, from 10am.

The venue can accommodate at least 20000 people.

Makeba's body will be cremated and scattered at sea.

A show planned to honour Mama Africa on November 27 will still go ahead, promoters of the show told Sowetan.

Godfrey Nzuza, one of the organisers, told Sowetan yesterday that though Sunday's tragedy was a blow to the planning of the show, the late veteran musician will still be honoured posthumously.

"The money raised will, as originally planed, be paid to the Makeba Children's Home.

"But the date might have to change since we are currently consulting with the family about the concert," Nzuza said. "Since it was a fund-raising event to benefit the children at the Makeba Children's Home, we will go ahead with the concert."

Among those who are to perform are Abigail Kubheka, who counts Makeba as a mentor.

Meanwhile, Samba Buri Mboup, the former ambassador of Senegal and now lecturer at Unisa, paid tribute to the singer.

"I've known Mama Africa as a close friend since 2001 when I was appointed ambassador of Senegal," Mboup said.

"Before that, like most music lovers of my generation, I became acquainted with her through her music and contribution to the liberation of the people of South Africa and the continent."

Makeba passed away in Italy on Sunday after a heart attack at the end of a performance.