Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Nelson Mandela

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Wednesday July 24, 2013

From Deutsche Welle

The cult of Nelson Mandela
By: Suzanne Cords

Revered like a saint in South Africa, Nelson Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday on July 18. As anti-Apartheid leader and the first black president of his country, he has inspired reconciliation during his lifetime.

Nelson Mandela sang “Nkosi sikeleli Africa – Lord Bless Africa” even as a young boy. Written in 1897, the song became the hymn of oppressed black Africans and the liberation melody of the African National Congress, ANC, in the struggle against apartheid.

Mandela was at the forefront in overturning the state policy of racial discrimination. “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities,” the charismatic ANC leader once said.

“Wenyukela – Raise Your Spirit Higher”

Since 1960, under the direction of Joseph Shabalala, the singers and musicians of the group “Ladysmith Black Mambazo” – who are friends with Mandela – have been singing untiringly of love and harmony. Lyrics such as “Wenyukela – Raise Your Spirit Higher” are exemplary of the religious singers, to whom violent conflict is anathema.

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