In the 1980s, a number of musicians raised their voices to call for the freedom of Nelson Mandela. (The fight against apartheid, as the documentary Amandla! highlighted, was waged partly with music.) The most famous of these protest songs, in the U.S. at least, is probably 1984’s “(Free) Nelson Mandela” by the Specials, which reached No. 9 on the U.K. charts and helped to make Mandela’s cause more widely known in Great Britain and elsewhere.
Three years later, the South African musician Hugh Masekela had one of his biggest hits with “Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela),” which became an anthem among Mandela supporters—and which Mandela himself would later dance to, a free man.
The same year that Masekela’s song came out, the South African band Savuka, fronted by Johnny Clegg, released “Asimbonanga,” which roughly translates as “We have not seen him.” Mandela would dance to that one, too—and you can watch him do so below. He joins Clegg on stage, and then, after the song ends, Mandela insists they play it again, so people can dance more than they did the first time. “It is music and dancing,” he says, “that makes me at peace with the world.”
TODAY IN SLATE
Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem
I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough
So they added a little self-immolation.
Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.