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Makeba’s Pata-Pata Gets a COVID-19 Remake

The world-famous song “Pata Pata”, a South African dance hit from 1967, is being re-released with new lyrics to spread information about coronavirus to vulnerable communities. Meaning “touch touch” in the Xhosa language, “Pata Pata” was written by Grammy-winning singer Miriam Makeba who named it after a dance move popular in Johannesburg at the time. The new version sung by Grammy winner and Beninese artist Angelique Kidjo includes lyrics such as, “We need to keep our hands clean so ‘no-Pata Pata’… Don’t touch your face, keep distance please and ‘no-Pata Pata'”. It will be played on more than 15 radio stations across African countries on Thursday, said the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF), which organised the release. Nicknamed “Mama Africa”, Makeba helped popularize music from the continent worldwide. She was a friend and mentor to Kidjo, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and one of the biggest African celebrities of the last decade. African music suffered a blow earlier last month when Cameroonian jazz icon Manu Dibango died of coronavirus. “Manu inspired me. Miriam inspired me. And ‘Pata Pata’ gave me hope,” Kidjo said in a statement.