Saturday, 7 December 2013

Vale Nelson Mandela

It came as a shock to the world, despite the fact he was 95 years of age, to hear that Nelson Mandela has passed away. While not a musician, he became a folk hero, a freedom fighter battling against an oppressive and racist regime in South Africa known as Apartheid.

How he became the face of the anti-apartheid movement, from his jail cell, where he was with plenty of other people jailed for the same reasons, I'm not quite sure. But he did inspire a hell of a lot of people and a great deal of music as well.

Most notably, he inspired Gerry Dammers, leader of The Specials, to write a freedom anthem calling for his release from prison, in 1983. It would be a further seven years before that would actually happen.

In looking for other examples of music inspired by the great man, I found this. It is a dub-reggae album inspired by his life, his story and his struggle, and what it means for other oppressed nations around the world, especially impoverished ones like Jamaica.

The album is called "Nelson Mandela: African Dub Excursion" featuring artists like URoy and the Mad Professor. Aside from being a gorgeous piece of music with its sublime grooves and inspirational lyrics, I think it is a fitting tribute to a man who was the first to admit he was no saint, but who was one of the reasons an international movement to end institutional racism began.

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