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Sathima Bea Benjamin

South African vocalist, composer, and lyricist Sathima Bea Benjamin was born October 17, 1936 in Johannesburg and raised in Cape Town, where she began singing in church. As a youth, she first performed popular music in talent contests held during intermission at the local cinema and by the late 1950s she was singing at various nightclubs, community dances and social events. She built her repertoire watching British and American movies and listening to the radio, where she discovered Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz and pop singers who would influence her early singing style.

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