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Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba

Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba is an artist, a symbol, and a woman in the fractured documentary Mama Africa, but never all three at once. Mika Kaurismäki toggles between these roles in his 2011 biography of the South African singer and civil rights activist.

Mavis!

Mavis!

The breezy positivity of Jessica Edwards’s documentary echoes the outlook of lively legend Mavis Staples, who’s been performing for six decades with no plans to retire. “I’ll stop singing when I have nothing left to say,” Staples asserts, “and you know, that ain’t gonna happen.”