Happy Birthday Miriam Makeba!

I cried and cried while listening to your Soweto blues. I was far away from South Africa but your song brought me to South Western Townships. It was June 16, 1976. 20,000 black students started a protest against the Apartheid government’s decision to force them to use Afrikaans, the language of the oppressor , as a language of instruction. The police shot them. 200 protesters were killed, many people were wounded.

It reminds me of February 21, 1952. Bengali people in East Pakistan protested against the decision of the West Pakistani rulers to force them to learn Urdu, the language of the oppressor and to make Urdu, not Bengali, the state language. The police shot them. Many protesters were killed and wounded.

Miss you Miriam Makeba! Happy Birthday!