Praise singers for Madiba

2011-07-15 09:56

If you were given the chance to serenade Nelson Mandela on his 93rd birthday, what song would you play? Lesley Mofokeng asks 10 of South Africa’s hottest celebs what they would choose.

Lerato Kganyago, beauty queen and Soweto TV presenter
Black President by Brenda Fassie

This song captures our history and speaks about our first black ­president. Coming from Soweto, the song reminds me of the dusty streets of my township, filled with people marching and celebrating the release of Mandela. I was still very young then, but I remember standing on my stoep in Diepkloof watching people go to the FNB stadium carrying boards with Mandela’s photo on them. Every time I ­listen to this song, I am flooded with memories and realise how far we have come as a country. It still sends chills down my spine.

Azania Ndoro, Metro FM DJ ­
Imagine by Herbie Hancock

It was originally sung by The Beatles’ John Lennon. I would ­dedicate it to Madiba’s humility and reconciliatory nature, which teaches us that it’s possible to make this world a better place in our lifetime.

Uyanda Mbuli, fashion designer and socialite
Nelson Mandela Ha Hona Ya Tshwanang Le Yena chorus

Popularly sung in Parliament whenever Mandela attends, it is a church hymn adapted in his honour. There’s really no one like him. He has inspired us to pursue our dreams and dare to be ourselves in a way no one else has.

Jabulani “HHP” Tsambo, hip-hop superstar
Gauteng by Miriam Makeba

It’s so relevant. So many men and so many leaders died in the ­compounds of Gauteng fighting for our freedom. Mandela is one of the few who saw the fruits of the struggle. He is the existing spirit of Kwame ­Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Chris Hani, Jomo Kenyatta, Steve Biko and Tsietsi Mashinini.

Arthur Mafokate, kwaito legend

West Wind by Miriam Makeba

I think the song with the famous words “Unify us, don’t divide us”

­encapsulates what Mandela fought for. He stood against white

­domination and black domination all his life. The words of this song

are a fitting tribute to a leader that ­managed to do just what the

great Makeba was asking for.

Penny Lebyane, Motswako talk show host
Higher And Higher by Brenda Fassie

It’s a fun song about starting at the bottom with nothing and making something great of yourself. It ­resonates with who I am and Mandela represents that in essence. I think he would enjoy it and Brenda Fassie is one of the greatest talents of this country. I wouldn’t play him deep ­pretentious stuff like Mozart. Madiba and I will party to MaBrrr.

Antonio Lyons, poet and actor
My Africa by Antonio Lyons and ­Refilwe Madumo

Mandela gave an honest perspective of contemporary Africa. He ­allowed us as Africans to celebrate our talent, innovation, adaptability and beauty, especially in light of the ­negative images that surround us. It is a song about hope and potential. That’s Mandela’s legacy for me. He is a living example of hope and potential realised. I love that guy and this ­country.

Nik Rabinowitz, comedian
Chicken To Change by Freshlyground and Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harum

The music video is about ­Zimbabwe’s president, Robert ­Mugabe, being too chicken to change. But Nelson wasn’t chicken. In fact, he was more like the giant rooster of change.
Whiter Shade of Pale is an ­appropriately titled song. That’s what a lot of white South Africans turned when they heard Mandela was ­released from jail.

Stevel Marc, model

Living Darfur by Mattafix

The song stands for Mandela’s ­morals and beliefs. I spent my ­childhood

in Jamaica and his name was always on everyone’s lips. He is a father

and an inspiration. Mandela is the truth. You can feel the Africanness

in this song featuring Chicco. It does ­something to you. Seeing the

video made me realise it’s about a ­better life for all.

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