Simphiwe Dana on Madiba: I hardly slept, I was crying

2013-12-06 17:01

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“You know, it’s funny, I didn’t really expect the well of emotions I felt when I heard the news,” says soul star Simphiwe Dana of hearing of Nelson Mandela’s passing last night.

“I thought we were all prepared for this. He was old, there was no way he was going to recover. But still, it was so emotional. I hardly slept, I was crying. It goes to show the love and the spirit of what he means to us.”

A year ago Dana – the much-loved, award-winning, politically conscious soul singer – wrote a poem called Madiba. In it she refers to Mandela as a sleeping giant. There is a sense of dread about his inevitable death in the poem.

“Madiba is the glue that held us together,” Dana told City Press.

Asked if she had fears that we’d become unstuck without him, she laughed.

“No! It must inspire us, not give us fear. In so many ways we have betrayed his dream and now we need to introspect and see how we can learn to emulate it.

“We are his children, informed by his character. Just as we are his children, he comes from us so we must be great too.

“His death makes me want to evaluate myself and mirror him in my own character.”

Asked if she was planning to write another poem or record a song for Mandela, the star laughed again.

“I would love to write a song but let’s allow creativity take its course.”

Then she added: “Let’s say that if anyone wants to record a tribute then my services are available.”


by Simphiwe Dana

The tree falls and winter comes

The giant saviour that became the saint

Is on the last journey back to his origins

Time worn, like an aspiration compromised

They wait on the sidelines

The whole world waits

For the covenant made with him is too strong a bind

To snap before the tree falls

Though bursting at the seams

The giant sleeps … their neediness keeps the saint alive

Incapacitated by the smiles of hope

Spread in the hearts of little children

It is easy to forget

That the dream is for all

Qhawe lamaqhawe

Ntsika yesizwe

Umhle umsebenzi wakho

Uyancomeka kwaye usithwele

Konke kwenzekile

Uyidlalile indima yakho

Ntsika yesizwe

The giant sleeps

Our fears keep the saint alive

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