Miriam Makeba occupies a unique position in the realm of African music. She's blessed with a remarkably powerful voice, but it's her history of struggle as an African woman that ultimately defines her career. Getting her start with the Manhattan Brothers and later the Skylarks in 1950s South Africa, she began to perform and record with Harry Belafonte in 1959. She gained the world as a stage with Belafonte, but was eventually banished from her homeland for openly criticizing apartheid. In 1967, her song "Pata Pata" became a worldwide hit (even reaching No. 12 on the U.S. singles chart), but the outspoken vocalist's career was cut short in America following her marriage to black activist Stokely Carmichael. She relocated to socialist Guinea in west Africa and even addressed the U.N. General Assembly as honorary ambassador from her new country. Her prolific body of work ranges from traditional African songs to pop standards she sings in English, French and various African languages. In recent years, she has finally been granted the official respect she deserves in both her homeland and the U.S.