“Free Nelson Mandela”: Song of jubilant protest

The Special AKA released “Free Nelson Mandela” in 1984 — joyous, jubilant and demanding, probably the world’s most danceable protest song.

Mandela was imprisoned before I was born, and this song first brought him into my consciousness. (And, as I recall, it made me the only person in my freshman journalism class to correctly identify the imprisoned South African anti-apartheid leader on a news quiz.)

Mandela wasn’t released for another six years. And it was 10 years after the tune was released that Mandela was elected president. What always amazed me was how well the song reflected Mandela — forward-looking without overlooking its roots, not a trace of anger or bitterness, relentlessly upbeat.

— By Cathy Maestri, InstantRiverside.com

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Thursday, December 5, 2013


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