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Miriam Makeba's hit song 'Pata Pata' gets a Covid-19 remix

Published Apr 23, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - South Africa's music legend Miriam Makeba's 1967 hit song 'Pata Pata' has been remixed with new lyrics that will spread information and hope in a time of Covid-19.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced that the reworked song was re-recorded by Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo.

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Kidjo and Makeba, affectionately known as Mama Africa, were friends. Makeba was a United Nations goodwill ambassador who worked on hunger, HIV and domestic violence, as well as a civil rights activist.

Her song ‘Pata Pata’ literally means ‘touch touch’ in Xhosa.

UNICEF in a statement said the modified version sung by Kidjo includes lines such as: "It's a time to 'Sit it out!' This is ‘no-pata-pata... Stay at home and wait it out …..We need to keep our hands clean ….So ‘no-pata pata’...Don’t touch your face, keep distance please."

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The reworked song has done no alteration to chords or syllables.

Kidjo said the death of Afro-Jazz icon Manu Dibango due to Covid-19 inspired her.

“Manu inspired me. Miriam inspired me. And Pata Pata gave me hope. We all know what needs to be done, but we also know how much communities are suffering. 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 said.

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UNICEF encouraged the public to submit videos of themselves dancing to ‘Pata-Pata’ by tagging @1unicefafrica on TikTok or @unicefafrica on Instagram with #nopatapata and #healthyathome. The best dance clips will be included in a music video to be released in mid-May.

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