Letta Mbulu vs. Miriam Makeba

Tshepang Lekhonkhobe

I've been wondering for years which of these two music legends is superior.

Miriam Makeba:

  • 3 masterpieces (Gauteng; A Luta Continua; Welela)
  • 3 excellent works (Mam Ndiyalila; Meet Me At the River; Goodbye Poverty)

Letta Mbulu:

  • 1 landmark (Jikijela)
  • 3 masterpieces (Not Yet Uhuru; Nomathemba; Zimkile)
  • 6 excellent works (Music In the Air; Ndi-Phendule; Buza; I Need Your Love; Maru a pula; Kube)

My simple point system gives Makeba 9 points and Mbuli gets a whooping 15. That's a scary number since it would mean she's superior to Salif Keita and just a point below Burning Spear! This I should revisit!

[sidenote] Oh, and I'm sure there's a lot of Miriam's work that I haven't trawled through. Either that or Miriam Makeba is, though excellent, is overrated, since I suspect she becomes a common answer to the question "who's the greatest female South African musician?". That's the answer that I also once had until I savoured much of Letta Mbulu's work and walked away amazed.

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