Mandela 100: The Soundtrack To Madiba’s Life And Legacy

Mandela 100: The Soundtrack To Madiba’s Life And Legacy

“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” — Nelson Mandela

South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and philanthropist, Nelson Mandela, was a remarkable embodiment of resilience, service and compassion. Having served 27 years in prison for conspiring to overthrow the apartheid state of South Africa, Mandela was released in 1990 due to growing fears of a racial civil war. He went on to serve as the country’s president from 1994 to 1999, negotiating the end of apartheid as the first Black head of state.

Mandela was for the reconciliation between his country’s racial groups, expansion of healthcare services and the end of poverty and human rights abuses. In a political climate currently rife with anti-Black and anti-immigrant rhetoric, an ongoing struggle against police brutality that disproportionately affects Black and brown communities and human rights violations like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, TIDAL evokes the humanitarian legacy of Tata Madiba as we celebrate what would have been his centennial.

While the South African government is not hosting an official event to celebrate Madiba’s born day, they have aptly declared July 18, 2018, the National Day of Service. To commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela, TIDAL presents a uniquely robust list of songs that speak to his work, legacy and commitment to the people—but not without the help of none other than South Africa-based publicist and media maven, Marang Setshwaelo, who is also deeply tied with the Mandela family.

“I’ve tried with this list to collate music that represents the range and diversity of people and communities who were inspired by this great man – hence the sounds of stalwarts such as Mama Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Hugh Masekela,” she explains over e-mail.

“There’s South African bubblegum (pop) music from the 1980s when it was illegal to even say his name, and artists resorted to euphemisms to get past the censors. Some tracks are literal tributes to the man, while others speak to his acute understanding that the freedom struggle was collective in nature—witness the inclusion of tracks dedicated to Steve Bantu Biko, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the women of the freedom struggle, Winnie Mandela, Albertina Sisulu and Zondeni Sobukwe (Thandiswa Mazwai ’Nizalwa Ngobani).”

Emphasizing the global reach and political effect of Mandela, Setshwaelo added: “His influence extended far beyond South Africa – he is an international icon, as reflected by the musical tributes from Stevie Wonder and Youssou N’Dour, amongst others. I could go on, and on and on – but we have to stop somewhere. Happy Birthday, Tata Madiba, we will never, ever forget what you’ve done for us.”

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