A Freedom-Fighter Forever Celebrated
31 years ago today, February 11, the South African icon Nelson Mandela walked through Victor Verster Prison gate to freedom after having been incarcerated for 27 years.
A prison sentence that the lawyer and social activist had received — along with several others including Andrew Mlangeni and Govan Mbeki, for leading the movement to end the racist, brutal and segragative apartheid regime in the country. A highly oppressive white-supremacist system that existed in South Africa for some 50 years.
The release of ‘Madiba’ – as he is affectionately known by many Africans who adopt his ethnic Xhosa name, set off a joyous celebration which also gave rise to violent clashes as indigenous (black) South Africans welcomed their freedom-fighting leader.
Mandela became the nation’s first black President of South Africa in 1994 and since then — until his passing at 95 years old in 2013, so many people around the world in South African, on the rest of the continent and abroad, have paid their respects to him by way of various tributes.
Here are a few key and heartwarming tributes that highlight the impact Madiba left on the world’s collective human heart.
1.) ‘Asimbonanga’ by the NMMU Choir
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s internationally acclaimed choir pays tribute to their namesake on his 94th birthday with their rendition of Asimbonanga.
2.) ‘My African Dream’ by Johann Strauss Orchestra
A Tribute To Nelson Mandela performed by soloist Kimmy Skota, André Rieu and Johann Strauss Orchestra at a concert Recorded Live in Wembley Arena on December 7, 2013, as part of the André Rieu UK Tour.
3.) ‘His Day is Done’ by Maya Angelou
A poem performed by the Late Great Dr Maya Angelou on behalf of US citizens and in memory of Madiba.
The video is available with captions in Afrikaans, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Hausa, Portuguese, Russian, Sesotho, Setswana, Spanish, Swahili, Wolof, Xhosa, or Zulu on this link.
4.) ‘Mandela’ by Harrysong
A melodic homage to Madiba by Nigerian singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Harrison Tare Okiri — better known by his stage name, Harrysong.
The tribute song won the “Most Downloaded Caller Tune Award” at The Headies 2013.
5.) Visual Tribute by the Nelson Mandela Foundation
A video highlighting the essence by Madiba published by his namesake foundation in his honour.
The visuals are brought to life by the tune Asimbonanga courtesy of Johnny Clegg.
6.) Mandela Medley by Soweto Gospel Choir
A medley consisting of two freedom songs from the album ‘Symphonic Soweto — Tribute to Nelson Mandela’ with the Soweto Gospel Choir.
The name ‘Rolihlahla’ (meaning “pulling the branch of a tree” or colloquially “troublemaker”) was the isiXhosa birth name given to Mandela.
As described by the flautist Wouter Kellerman on his official YouTube channel, “this powerful revolutionary song calls on the ‘troublemaker’ to speak to the authorities of the African National Congress about the plight of the people.”
At the same time, the tune takes issue with apartheid and the composition portrays the troublemaker’s transition to the brave one – eventually the champion of human rights.
7.) ‘No! He Said’ by Wole Soyinka
A poem performed by the world-renowned Nigerian Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Wole Soyinka.
The Nigerian playwright, poet and essayist lent his literary talents to honour his legendary peer.
8.) ‘Mandela’ by Zahara and Mzwakhe Mbuli
South African poet and Mbaqanga singer Mzwakhe Mbuli along with singer-songwriter, pay tribute to their national hero in Waterkloof.
The two performed the song around the country at various occasions to the delight of many South Africans nationwide.
9.) Woolworths Flashmob
Woolworths flashmob with the Grammy award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir to honour Nelson Mandela at the Parkview Mall in Pretoria.
The Bigsky team flew up to Pretoria to cover the event which was shot by Peter Sean, Ernst Heusser and Jordi Giralt and edited by Peter Sean.
10.) The Mandela Dance!
With all the many tributes -musical and otherwise, over the years, Madiba would express his pleasure with his signature dance move which is now known as “the Mandela dance.” Many South Africans do this dance in affectionate remembrance of the fun-loving Madiba.
As Nelson Mandela continues to rest in Power and in Peace, his Pan-African freedom-fighting legacy endures in the hearts of people from all walks of life globe-wide.