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coverpic flag South Africa - Full Moon 212 - 12/17/13

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013

Mandela wasn't a rock star, but... he was a rock and a star, and he's also been a name linked to (Western) popular music since The Special AKA launched their single "Nelson Mandela" in 1984. The following year Little Steven Van Zandt founded Artists United Against Apartheid and put out the single (as well as an album) "Sun City". Van Zandt was backed with a massive posse of artists: Afrika Bambaataa, Gil Scott-Heron, Miles Davis, George Clinton, Bonnie Raitt, Run DMC, Jimmy Cliff, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Peter Gabriel, L. Shankar, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Okosun, Pete Townshend, Joey Ramone, Bono, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, and more. At the time of the "Nelson Mandela" single Mandela had served years and years at Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison, and he contiuned doing years at Victor Verster Prison until he was freed in Februrary 1990. The rest is history.

Nelson Mandela
Free Nelson Mandela
Free, Free
Free, free, free Nelson Mandela

Twenty-one years in captivity
His shoes too small to fit his feet
His body abused but his mind is still free
Are you so blind that you cannot see

I say Free Nelson Mandela
I'm begging you
Free Nelson Mandela

He pleaded the causes of the ANC
Only one man in a large army
Are you so blind that you cannot see
Are you so deaf that you cannot hear his plea

Free Nelson Mandela
I'm begging you
Free Nelson Mandela

Twenty-one years in captivity
Are you so blind that you cannot see
Are you so deaf that you cannot hear
Are you so dumb that you cannot speak

I say Free Nelson Mandela
Oh, I'm begging you
Oh free Nelson Mandela, free Nelson Mandela
I'm begging you, begging you
Please free Nelson Mandela
Free Nelson Mandela
I'm telling you, you've got to free Nelson Mandela...
(Jerry Dammers, The Special A.K.A., from In the Studio 1984
)

PS! As history repeats and repeats we'd better spin The Special A.K.A.'s "Racist Friend" while we're at it. Sadly enough it's not out of date. Never will be.

Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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