Nairobi, 23 April 2020 (dpa/MIA) — A classic song by iconic South African singer and anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba has been remade to help spread health advice during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new version of “Pata Pata,” recorded by Grammy Award winner Angelique Kidjo and released by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), includes lines about staying at home, cleaning hands, and keeping a distance from others.
Kidjo said she was inspired by Makeba, but also by Afro-jazz legend Manu Dibango, who died last month after contracting the COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“We all know what needs to be done, but we also know how much communities are suffering,” Kidjo, who is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, said in a statement.
“‘Pata Pata’ has always been there for people at a time of struggle. I hope it helps once more. And I hope from our confined spaces we can dance once more,” she added.
People are being encouraged to post videos of themselves dancing to “Pata Pata” on social media. The best clips will be included in a music video to be released in mid-May, UNICEF said.
Makeba recorded “Pata Pata” in the United States after having been banned from South Africa in 1960. She ended up spending 30 years in exile for speaking out against the country’s apartheid regime.
Makeba, who passed away in 2008 and was affectionately nicknamed “Mama Africa,” was the continent’s first Grammy Award-winning singer. “Pata Pata” was one of her trademark songs, and it became a worldwide hit in the 1960s.
Pata pata means “touch touch” in Makeba’s native Xhosa language.
In Kidjo’s version of the song, the lyrics have been changed to “no pata pata,” in light of the social distancing that is recommended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.